2015 has seen our coldest night on record, with an overnight low recorded of - minus 7 degrees celsius. It has been a very long winter, with temperatures plummeting in mid autumn. Now, in mid August we have finally made it to temperatures reaching double figures by day, but nights are still extremely cold.
Short, cold days and grey skies contribute to my struggle to find the energy to venture beyond the warmth of my home. Luckily my dog demands his daily walk and work draws me out beyond the narrow confines of home, but I find venturing out in the evenings a challenge and even basic tasks like heading out for groceries worth postponing for as long as possible throughout winter.
I think species that hibernate, like bears and squirrels, even snakes have got it right and even envy their luck to be able to simply remove themselves from life during the cold bleak months of winter. The sunshine and warmth that brings them out to the world reborn in spring, is what I too await, to fully restore my participation in life.
Blue skies, blossom, the burst of colour from spring bulbs and wattle will ultimately restore my spirits as days warm and lengthen, but for now I continue to battle low energy and a desire to stay inside, keep warm and sleep my way through winter.
The current penchant for grey interiors and exteriors of buildings also grates on my fragile winter fearing nerves. I once rented a flat with grey interior walls. It proved too much for me to bear for more than a month or two. Grey is the colour that equates with and delivers the depression of winter. It had to be painted a refreshing shade of "airey cream", with warming hints of yellow, lest I sink to the depths of interior despair. Colour is so vital in our lives and without bright colours around me I quickly feel my energy draining away. Personally I associate grey with despair and emptiness. It can never be relaxing or simple background tint, but permeates a sense of permanently being locked into winter.
Meanwhile I over indulge in comfort food and pile on the kilos. I should be eating daily intakes of leafy greens, which I thrive on in summer. Cooked they turn into a limp monotonous unappealing offering, even when I do my best to incorporate them into soups and casseroles. I want pasta, stews and lots of potatoes. My body does anything but thrive on such a diet. Ideally I would be on a summer food regime all year around, but in winter we need foods that keep us warm and generally these involve consuming way more kilos than we need. This is made doubly difficult as exercise through activities like gardening and walking reduces enormously over winter. It is a constant and depressing struggle. I over consume comfort food, or completely lose my appetite and energy to even prepare any food at all and fast as a result!
I am not alone in suffering these feelings and symtoms. SAD, or 'seasonal affective disorder' has been recognised by psychiatrists and well documented as a mood disorder form of depression, suffered by many people over winter and are triggered by natural light levels being insufficient to stimulate us into a sense of well being and energisation. Conversley, some people suffer the opposite and find getting through summer a challenge.
Perhaps they are the ones who love grey interiors and find cold weather envigorating?
Personally, I cannot wait for the heady days of summer, long days of 30 degrees C, or more, stone fruit season, salads, long balmy evenings and a sense of restored well being and energy!
For now, spring is close. Blossoms are swelling and opening on my apricot and almond trees. The daphne is in bloom and jonquils and erlicheers are delivering some colour to break the monotony of grey days.I am craving my raw leafy greens and simply cooked lighter foods. For me, the spring equinox cannot come soon enough, but I console my blues knowing that at least such times are not too far away!
For more information about SAD the following links may be useful: