Seasonal Affective Disorder or Laziness

A new level of laziness overcame me when I returned home from my fabulous trip to the California coast for Thanksgiving.  I couldn’t get excited about much of anything, and I wasn’t looking forward to the end of the semester or Christmas.  I thought I was down because a great vacation had come to an end.  Back home the grind met me.  I was grading handfuls of rushed papers, Christmas preparations and grades faced me, and holiday commitments arose.  I didn’t want to do it.  I quit exercising; I tried to quit anything outside the class room.  I had no interest, drive, desire for anything.  Even watching my favorite program lost my interest.  I didn’t understand what was going on and blamed myself for being lazy.  My daughter called it post-vacation depression.  I thought it was the stress of everything coming at once.  I felt that it would get better.  And it did for a bit.  Christmas parties and the day were great, but I kept slipping back into that slump.

Then I went to Arizona and had a dose of warm sunshine.  When I came home, it was the opposite of the last vacation.  I started buzzing around the house getting things done.  I returned to exercising with gusto.  It would be easy to believe that it was because of the new year and the crunch of having to go back to class, but I realized that wasn’t the case.  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I do make lifestyle changes, though, or set goals. The only goal I made this year was to exercise 600 miles during the year.  I had exercised 629 miles in the last two years and decided that I could realistically do that in one year.  But that doesn’t explain my change in behavior and mood.  That is not the reason behind the increased exercising.  So I started analyzing things/events, and I realized that there was a slight combination of possibilities.  The most prominent one is that I had been in the sun.  Usually in the winter, I want to curl up with a blanket, a good book, and a hot cup of cocoa.  The temperature was 18 degrees when we came home, but I wanted to be active.

In my mind, I saw the difference and the weather changes.  It made sense that this could be a seasonal thing. So could this be SAD?  Several of my relatives have this and take vitamin D and use a sun light, but I don’t know their symptoms.  I have heard that people with SAD become lethargic and feel down.  So this could be it.  Or it could have been the result of stress.  Having finals and grades due at the holidays has always stressed me because of all the additional responsibilities and the student’s reactions to the grades.  It could be a way of coping.  But usually stress actually makes me ill.  I’ve had gout, pneumonia, rashes, bronchitis, vision problems, and a number of other problems as a result of stress, but never lethargy in this length of time.  So could it be SAD?  I don’t know, but it is worth looking into.

I was exercising, cooking, crafting, writing again and speeding along happily in life.  Something has improved, and I was myself again.  But the longer that I have been in the overcast sunless days of the Northern Nevada area, the more I feel I am falling back to where I was at the beginning of the holidays.  I am still doing my stuff because of the time lines I have, but I don’t want to go to work, and I don’t have the happy drive that had so recently been my friend.  Thus, another thing making me feel as if this funk is caused by something greater than stress or a time crunch.  I am ready to go hiking again and to see the sun shine.