Winter 2014: Seriously? Four Things to Do Until You Feel Warm Again

Oh hey — let’s talk some more about this weather that has slammed the Midwest and east coast this year, shall we?  Read More Winter 2014: Seriously? Four Things to Do Until You Feel Warm Again

Song Sung Blue: Tidings of Comfort & Joy

I’ve been struggling extra hard with a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder this year. I think part of the struggle is related to my mistaken hopes that removing my family to a warmer, more southerly location would produce a milder form of the yearly blues, so to have them hit hard, yet again, feels like even the most extreme efforts are nothing against the seasonal tidal pull of a hormonal imbalance. Read More Song Sung Blue: Tidings of Comfort & Joy

Feeling SAD?

While it may be the season for pumpkins, cozy sweaters, and some of the best holidays the year has to offer (all good things in my book), it’s also the time of year when the days get shorter and it starts to feel like daylight is a precious commodity. Fortunately many of us will soon be turning our clocks back and stealing a bit more “day” time; unfortunately, it won’t be long before that stolen hour will no longer make a difference.

Read More Feeling SAD?

Ask the Editors: Battling SAD

Welcome to Ask the Editors, where we combine the multi-generational wisdom of our editorial team to answer reader questions.  If you’d like to ask a question of your own, you can use this completely anonymous Ask Us form. Read More Ask the Editors: Battling SAD

Winter Blues, My Ass: How I Survive My Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter sucks. If you’re a person who enjoys the bitter cold, the short days, and the absurd amounts of various forms of water falling from the sky, I envy you. I live in a world with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and crushing depression. Read More Winter Blues, My Ass: How I Survive My Seasonal Affective Disorder

January Bites

I will defend to the death my right to hate January for no other reason except that I do. But, out of respect for you readers, I’ll provide some actual linkage, maybe some statistics, and a whole lot of incontrovertible proof that January is a bad, terrible, horrible, no-good time to be alive.

1. The Dearth of Good TV Programs

At least during the summer hiatus, networks get creative with marathons and specials (far too many of which abuse the words “hot” and “sizzling,” but I digress). The winter break from quality programming is infinitely worse because, while December fills up with holiday specials, January’s time slots fall prey to post-holiday laze and ennui. GLEE’s not even coming back until February 6! Come on, Fox, get it together.

2. The Drought of Quality Movies

Anything that expects to get an Oscar gets released sometime in the fall, possibly in late November/early December (see Black Swan). And blockbusters like Lord of the Rings often get scheduled for release within a week of Christmas. But what studio exec. looks at her January calendar and thinks, “Hmm, this cold, blustery month when people are short on money and the Oscars are only a few weeks away seems like the perfect time to release a blockbuster/tearjerker/arthouse film!” None, ever.

And that’s why we’re stuck with all these terrible films this month:

Country Strong aka “Gwyneth Paltrow tries a country accent and some cowboy boots and a wee drank of alcoholism on for size.”

From Prada to Nada aka “A rip off of Sense and Sensibility with some materialism thrown in.”

The Dilemma aka “A romantic comedy I want to like because I adore Winona Ryder but Ron Howard’s track record with comedy [How the Grinch Stole Christmas] is spotty.”

The Season of the Witch aka “Again, want to like because Ron Perlman and the Middle Ages and witches all rock my socks, but Nicolas Cage? Really?? He’s the prime example of a mediocre dude, in terms of both looks and talent, the female equivalent of whom would never have become famous.”

3. The Most Depressing Day of the Year – Scientifically Established!!

The New York Times Health section confirms that January and February are the worst months for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And by the use of some mystical formula, a U.K. psychologist “who specializes in seasonal disorders” calculated that January 24 really is the nadir of despair for the Western populace.

Look, science: [W + (D-d)] x TQ / M x NA

Anyway, I don’t need a psychologist or a journalist to tell me January is a bad month to have depression, seasonal or otherwise. I’ve been observing my own declining mood for at least 10 Januaries now, and I’m preparing by stocking up on Reese’s and gin and laundered bathrobes.

4. The Utter Lack of Any Good Holidays

I mean no disrespect to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of course it’s wonderful to get a day off (if you’re in school, or work for the government, or have a nice employer, I mean), but it’s more of a day for solemn remembrance than a day for whooping it up and celebrating.

And no, New Year’s Day does not count as a holiday, in any capacity. It is the day when hangovers are nursed, Plan B is bought (ask me how I know!), and disgusting ham is eaten, while everyone stares dolefully across the table and tries to think of a resolution that won’t be too hard to keep. Hell, this year New Year’s Day even coincided with Saturday, so most people were gypped out of a free vacation day.

What January does have, in copious amounts, is weird, boring, depressing holidays. For example, did you know this is National Soup Month and Oatmeal Month? Charming. Someone wake me up when it’s National Short Ribs Month. Also, it’s National Bath Safety Month, so all you crazy kids who like to pretend the bathtub is a swimming pool: cut that shit out.

Perhaps worst of all, January 3 is Humiliation Day. Don’t worry, HolidayInsights.com assures me it’s not what it sounds like:

Humiliation Day is not a day to humiliate someone. Rather, it should be viewed as a time to recognize the negativity of humiliating someone or a group of people.

5. The Disgusting, Evil Weather

January’s dark, cold, and it kicks off what, for many parts of the world anyway, is the snowiest, iciest, windiest, sleetiest time of the year. Blech.

In addition to the unpleasantness of inclement weather, there’s the added cost of heating homes (or you can just freeze!) and the safety issues and stress associated with driving on slick, icy roads in a city where officials deem it appropriate to never use salt or plow any roads but the freeway (again, ask me how I know).

Does anyone hate January? If not, please explain why, in 100 words or less, and provide supporting data, preferably peer-reviewed articles. Kidding! But seriously, feel free to commiserate or defend the month in the comments, as you see fit.

Snuffing the Winter Blues

I’ve been apprehensively thinking about Season Affective Disorder (SAD) quite a bit the past few weeks, waiting for the shoe to drop. Every winter for the past four years, I’ve experienced a gradual decline in mood come late fall, and a listlessness that is difficult to shake, no matter how much sleep I get. It snowed for the first time in my area a few days ago, and watching the powder slowly build up outside my window made me wish I had a lightswitch to flip on the sun, or could take an impromptu vacation anywhere closer to the equator. Read More Snuffing the Winter Blues