This is the longest, coldest season I can ever remember.
Just as I think we’re turning a corner — and spring tries to make an appearance — the cold bites back and we’re in the throes of winter once more.
I thought we’d seen the last of the ‘Beast of The East’ but more snow is forecast this weekend.
I’m not a fan of the colder months.
I especially don’t like autumn — there I said it.
Whilst some people wax lyrical about it; pretty leaves, cosy knits, fires etc… for me it symbolises the death of summer.
Over the top? Maybe.
For me, autumn marks the end of another year. It’s almost more poignant than new year’s eve, in some ways. Nature begins her annual shut-down; plants begin to die back and the birds migrate.
Winter always seems to sidle in without me noticing and forces autumn out of the way, almost as soon as it’s begun. Blue skies give way to grey and the pretty leaves fall.
Thankfully, winter is punctuated by Christmas.
In our household, anticipation for this begins mid November, so even though the days may be short and dark, the sparkle and shine are a great distraction.
And I definitely do need a distraction.
I know it’s a bit extreme to feel like this but I’ve been very aware, since I was a child, how much my mood is dictated by the weather.
It was only around a decade ago that I realised my lethargy and grumpiness was shared by others and actually had a scientific name.
Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder — or SAD as it’s otherwise known (and as acronyms go, there’s none more fitting) — range from low mood and feeling lethargic. To wanting to eat your bodyweight in carbs (this seems to be me throughout the entire winter!).
Not to mention irritability, insomnia — or sleeping for longer and finding it hard to get up in a morning.
I’ve definitely felt all of the above at some time or other during the winter months.
Apparently SAD can also cause feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness — so if you’re feeling as though you can’t cope, it is definitely worth a trip to the doctors.
Thankfully my symptoms — although irritating — aren’t too severe or debilitating.
What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
There are lots of theories.
The main — and most probable — is lack of sunlight. There are lots of products on the market to combat this; SAD lamps and light therapy boxes.
Personally getting outside and going for a walk seems to do the trick for me.
A combination of movement and daylight — even if it’s the weak, grey variety — works wonders and make me feel infinitely better.
Thankfully, although this winter feels as though it’s dragging, we’ve been treated to some amazing blue skies and sunshine; even though the temperatures have been struggling to get above zero.
On the days that I’ve been cursing the snow, getting outside and appreciating it’s beauty — rather than sitting indoors feeling sorry for myself — have definitely lifted my mood.
We’ve had some extraordinary snowfall recently and our little village has looked so beautiful.
It’s been a veritable winter wonderland, some days.
I know lots of people who love the winter months.
Some of my friends talk wistfully about cosying up indoors, in front of a roaring fire; hands wrapped around steaming mugs of hot-chocolate.
And whilst it does sound appealing, I know that after just one day of it, I’m yearning for warmer temperatures and long, light evenings.
Happily, even though the Beast of the East is predicted to make a return this weekend — and we’ve more snow on the way — whilst Christmas-card scenery is slightly alarming mid-March, at least in 10 days time the clocks will go forward.
Hurray for that.
It’s been a long winter.