I’m not going to lie. I get really crabby in the winter. My family quietly urges me to seek sunlight, drink joyous teas, meditate, sing, eat, dance, and everything else possible so I don’t morph into the grouchiest grouch who ever got out of bed. On the wrong side. Everyday.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as it is so appropriately called, is the real deal. And I’m not self-diagnosing, but the winter blues is not something that we made up because we were crabby and couldn’t go outside and play. It’s caused by a decrease in sunlight, drop in chemical levels in the body, and, although not technically documented, also by being trapped in your house with your children asking you to play Candyland and feed them snacks for hours on end until they request to watch TV and then use every single sheet and blanket you have to build a fort which covers two-thirds of your living space and you have to just about crawl through a window to get to your bathroom and they never, ever clean it up no matter how kindly you ask.
But I digress.
I was talking about being cranky in the winter, right?
My husband is convinced that my body gets angry when it doesn’t see the sun, so he brought me home a new alarm clock. It’s one of those fancy kinds that uses light to wake you up gradually that is supposed to prepare your body to wake up and face the day with a smile. For thirty minutes, it simulates a sunrise so that by the end of it, you’ve got a grin-inducing non-UV light in your face. If that doesn’t work, you can set it to the radio or even a chorus of birds chirping in the early morning fake light that glows in your bedroom.
It’s actually pretty cool, and I am grateful for my fancy present. The problem is that having this new alarm clock means getting rid of my old one, which I have had since I’ve been thirteen years old. (That’s over twenty years, people. They just don’t make appliances like they used to.) This old clock has been with me forever. Its buttons have been memorized by my fingers in such a way that I can set it in the dark with my eyes closed. That clock and I have woken up at every hour of the day. It has seen me through dozens of afternoon power naps and held strong even in my grumpiest mornings. Its faint ANT ANT ANT ANT ANT ANT ANT has become music to my ears.
And now, some new fangled extravagant happiness-producing bird-chirping hunk of light on my nightstand is replacing my old friend. I’m not sure how I feel about all of this. Saying goodbye to that oversized and outdated appliance is making me feel…wait for it…kind of sad.
So it follows that getting my new alarm clock, which should make me happy, and saying goodbye to my old one, which makes me sad, should in fact cancel each other out and I’ll keep on keeping on with my regular self.
Until spring finally springs.
A final note: Seasonal Affective Disorder is indeed more than just your kids driving you bonkers. You can do yourself a favor during these winter months by making sure you eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, by getting outside more, and by doing things that you know make you happy. Call me crazy, but these seem to be good tips for every season of the year, no matter which side of the bed you get up on.