Spring 2012 is spreading across New Zealand and you can't help but get that spring in your step - even if some of us may be still feeling the winter blues.
SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder - is the depression we suffer during the dark months of winter. Lack of light can actually make us depressed.
Although SAD tends to be more of an issue in places that have very limited sunlight hours in winter, like Scotland, Norway, Canada, Sweden, Alaska and Russia, there is no doubt this legitimate disorder can affect New Zealanders, too. Those in the Deep South can drive to work and return home in darkness. Even in Auckland the long commute to work can mean you leave for work and return home while it's dark. City offices can be gloomy, too - I worked for a number of years in a department with no windows and natural light at all.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of SAD may consist of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, weight gain, difficulty concentrating and appetite changes - especially craving carbs.
I'm no medical expert but I frequently battle with anxiety and depression, so these tips might help you just as they have helped me.
With spring here, embrace the positivity this season brings. Spring is about new life - lambs, calves, new flowers, new leafs, gardens coming to life, and a warming of the seas for us to swim in during summer. Spring is about windy weather - a fresh start to blow away the winter bugs. Spring is about longer days - currently almost 90 minutes longer than back in June. Sunlight hours grow by around 20 minutes a week at this time of the year.
If the winter blues are getting to you, talk to your doctor. The weather and seasons have a significant impact on our emotions. It's nothing to be ashamed of and a lot more comforting when you realise you're not alone.By Philip Duncan Email Philip