This time last year I was in the depths of a bout of SAD that was the worst I could remember having. I'd started 2016 with flu and and just never really got started. We had an amazing week in Cornwall together but I still didn't pick myself up properly until the clocks went forward.
Determined not to feel so bad this year, since October last year I've deployed a SAD lamp on my desk at work for an hour a day and I've been taking VitD and B12 too.
The other thing I've avoided is Hygge.
Unless you've been in a coma for several years you will know that Hygge is a Scandinavian movement that doesn't really translate to English directly, but which in simple terms means 'cosy'. It's spawned a trillion books, blog posts,newspaper articles, and Instagram posts. Fed by our recent love of Scandi-dramas, people have sported chunky knits and used it as an excuse to light more candles in their home than a local Catholic church. And eat cake.
It has spawnedparodiesand, eventually an anti-movementclaiming that we Brits have been doing this for years anyway, just in less stylish knitwear.
The urge we have to shut ourselves away and stuff our faces was given a name, and that made it ok and last year I got totally sucked in. I told myself it was ok to hibernate and eat what I wanted because it was "Hygge".
Lethargy breeds lethargy though, and by Spring's arrival all I was was fatter, and even more fed up.
This year I haven't indulged at all. Apart from lighting the odd candle in the bath, post-Christmas my tea light habit has returned to normal levels. I haven't given myself permission to eat crap food 'because it's winter and I need carbs'. I've had porridge for breakfast instead of vast lattes and pastries, and we've been eating Hairy Dieter meals most evenings.
I've made myself dress smartly for work instead of relying on alternating pairs of jeans and jumpers.
Finally and most importantly I've made myself get outside. I've shunned the bus where possible (unless I'm late or it's really foul outside) and I've walked all parts of my commute that don't involve the hell that is SouthEastern.
We aren't subject to 6 months of darkness here, even if your commute means you don't see daylight in the morning and evening, you can still get out for 20 minutes at lunchtime. You don't have to live on the beach to get fresh air.
Unless you have small children, I'm sure the urge to sit in PJs all day at the weekend will be a strong one, and of course the odd day of indulgence is great, but make it special, not an excuse for slobbing. Get outside and get some air. As a friend of mine always says, there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Even damp air is fresh.
Hygge has been labelled as 'self love' which is fine, we all need a bit of that, but... everything in moderation.
My SAD hasn't been anywhere near as bad this year as last. I know the lamp has helped, I'm not sure about the tablets. What I do know is that constantly pushing myself outside and looking around, getting what little winter sun we've had and breathing cold air (especially in my work lunch break) has improved my mood no end.
A slab of cake by candle light in your pyjamas might feel comforting at the time, but if you're excusing it with Hygge every day, by Spring all you'll be is fatter and paler.