I never quite understood what happened to me during winter months. I would sleep away weekends and when I wasn’t sleeping I was eating. I did not want to socialize. I did not want to think. My Husband read an article about SAD 20 years ago, and based on that article I started making some changes to my usual routine that helped alleviate some of the symptoms. One of the biggest factors that contributes to sluggishness is lack of sunlight. It's dark when you get up and it's dark when you drive home. My office furniture is arranged so that I look out the window while I work at my computer, allowing me to soak up as much daylight as possible. My Husband bought me a blue light a few years back and I use it in the dead of winter when it's still dark outside in the morning, while I am blow drying my hair. I used to have it on while I was putting on my make up, but I found that the blue tinge it projected on my skin made for interesting make up application. :-) Taking vitamin D has helped a lot. But, without a doubt, once again riding has been the biggest help in keeping me well.
I didn’t realize the how much of a positive impact riding had on dealing with SAD until My Husband mentioned it. Two years ago, when I started my riding lessons, my personal test was if I could make it through a winter; if I could push myself to go to my two lessons a week (one evening, one early morning) when it was cold and dark and snowing, then riding was for me. My school horse, GM, was not very fond of me, or any student for that matter. She would have been a convenient excuse to cancel. But I didn’t. Even when I was injured and couldn’t ride, I still attended the lessons. Riding had drawn me in and I was addicted. I persevered through the winter months. I started to feel better and more energized as winter progressed. I still had some down days, but they were no longer the norm. After surviving that first winter, I started looking for my own horse.
Last winter was my first with Gem. Unless it was too cold, I held to the routine of riding him three times a week. Being outside with him, getting exercise, socializing and having FUN was good for body and soul; my winter was not so bleak. I do not see sleeping away another winter in my future. I am already getting adjusted to the recent time change and I know that I will feel better very soon. I am so glad that I found the best prescription ever for SAD - Gem!!