Dealing with the time change

Daylight Savings Time blues

I didn’t think it was possible to feel S.A.D. in SoCal.

S.A.D., of course, being Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I mean, other than my big career goals and all, the primary reason I moved to an area where seasons are at times indistinguishable was to avoid the gross meh feeling I get at the beginning of fall every year. But lo and behold, I’m feeling a bit meh. I don’t exactly expect sympathy to come pouring in here, though. I still have a tan in November, for God’s sake.

Still, with sunset at 4:58 p.m. (and only getting earlier through most of December), I don’t think it’s totally ridiculous to get the fall blues in the Golden State. (Contrary to popular belief, SoCal residents don’t spend every day frolicking at the beach.) Research has proven the time change is overall shitty for your health, safety, the economy and probably everything else that’s good and important, but I’m just guessing.

So how to deal with the lack of vitamin D?

Lately, I’ve been setting my alarm a few minutes earlier than normal to spend more time soaking up the morning light that pours in through the kitchen. These days, our apartment gets dark pretty early, so it’s nice to make up for it by not missing out on the best sunlight. Plus, I actually have time to eat breakfast peacefully, and I’m more likely to conk out at 11:30 at night. (I used to be a night owl – what happened?!)

After a period of going light on the exercise, I’ve been making an effort to step it up and go on more runs. Putting my shoes on is the hardest thing to do when I’m in a fall funk (I’d so much rather eat leftover Halloween candy), but when I come back from a jog, I feel like a new person. There is no better pick-me-up.

I always like to have something to look forward to, but it’s especially essential this time of year. It helps that Thanksgiving is right around the corner (and John’s sister is coming down from Northern California to stay with us!), but little things like a new book or recipe, a Saturday afternoon drive or a movie night in all put me in a good mood.

And, if all else fails, a bottle of wine (to share) always does the trick.

For those of you who suffer from the hell of Daylight Savings Time, how are you coping with the time change? Do you think it’s as stupid as I do?

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  1. I know exactly what you mean. I thought moving to Florida would solve the issue, but it really didn’t. I felt the change almost instantly. It’s still nice here, so I’m trying to take a 30+ minute walk every day. I hope your changes and things to look forward to continue to help!

  2. I always forget what a drastic effect DST has on my happiness–every year it takes me a few weeks to get adjusted to leaving the house when it’s dark, spending all the sunlight hours at work, then leaving as the sun set. I’m trying to take a mid-day walk for as long as I can hack it here in freezing Illinois, and on the days when I work from home or have more flexibility, I try to spend as much time as possible outdoors or near the windows. I’m thinking of adding a Vitamin D supplement, too.

  3. I’m not dealing with it. I can’t stay awake past 10 p.m. It sucks.

  4. Sounds like Daylight Savings Time isn’t the culprit, but the “fall forward” to Standard Time. A double “spring back” this time of year would make for a slightly less depressing afternoon, but then the kiddies would really be standing at the bus stop in pitch blackness in the morning.

    The only completely organic panacea for Seasonal Affective Disorder is to find work and lodging much closer to the poles, six months North and six months South. Of course, career prospects might be limited to working on the Alaskan Pipeline or onboard an ice-breaking vessel, which would likely produce additional opportunities for depression.

    Try to hang in there ’til April, and definitely don’t misplace that corkscrew!

  5. I don’t think I have SAD, but I do have PMDD and I have to work out every single day and eat healthily or else I’ll want to jump off a building within weeks. The culture of the entertainment industry in SoCal only adds to the craziness.

    When I first moved here from Georgia, though, the three hour time difference almost killed me. It took me a couple of months to acclimate. I felt tired and exhausted all the time and I wasn’t working out or anything. So, so crazy.

    So soak in that sun, lady. Figure out what helps and what works and stick to it! And wine is always great.

  6. We don’t do DST here in the UAE, but I still definitely get SAD. After winter break, in the bleak months of January and February, when there’s less sunlight and it’s too cold to not wear a sweater, I find it extremely hard to get myself out of bed each day. I definitely agree that having things to look forward to makes a huge difference. I need to think of things each day, for best results…. it’s exhausting and slightly impossible, haha.

  7. I did not grow up with a time change (AZ represent!) so when I moved to NY and ATX, I definitely struggled.

    But for some reason it’s hitting me harder than ever. I’m home sick for a place that hasn’t been my home in four years. And I don’t think it helps that the three days after the time changed it was an endless downpour of rain.

    I will definitely be getting up a little earlier now to go for a walk or SOMETHING to fight this S.A.D. I also think it has to do with the fact that I haven’t baked in a month. Stupid lack of money. I guess I’ll just have to start drinking more wine….

    We could always just meet in the middle and discover whatever adventure awaits, right?

  8. It’s funny because, until I saw this post (and other people chatting about DST) I never even realised there was a possibility of my struggling with it all. I’m an early riser anyway, and a early-to-bed-er too, I guess, so it’s never really affected me. However, saying that, I’m not loving the shift in seasons this year – the wet weather completely dampens my spirits, and I always find it hard to get and stay motivated when we’re plagued with grey days. Hmmmm. So, maybe I am suffering with SAD, after all.

    Oh gosh – there’s a possibility we’re moving to Manchester (Uk, obviously!) next year, and it’s known for being plagued with rain. NOT a happy thought. At all!

  9. Isn’t it crazy how much better you feel after a run (or after just working out in general)? Most of the time the knowledge of how I’ll feel at the end of it is the only thing that makes me put on my shoes in the first place. Also, this article has been floating around my Facebook newsfeed: – most of my Facebook friends are in the Midwest, so they have to deal with a SAD a little bit (just a little bit) more than us here in Southern California, but our days get shorter too, so I think it has some handy ideas that can help anyone who struggles through the lack of sunlight during these winter months.

    Also, I know we say this all the time, but I’m going to say it again: LET’S HANG OUT SOON.

  10. You know, until reading this post I hadn’t given much thought to the MEH I’ve been feeling recently. I made a mental to-do note to kind of stop and consider my recent habits and maybe look into some energy boosters because I just cannot get myself out of this tired funk. AND HERE. MY PEOPLE AND AN EXPLANATION.

    I like these ideas of waking up early and going for walks, but it’s also so exhausting even thinking about it. 😉

    Of course, the things that would help me most are the ones that I’m probably too tired to do…

    Thanks for sharing. And just to further commiserate, I live in a seasonally challenge state too. This crap is universal.

  11. Seriously! I grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Arkansas, where it’s generally pretty sunny most of the time. My boyfriend is from Oklahoma and we have much more clouds and rainy days here than he is used to. SAD gets to him so quickly—but for me it takes a lot longer since I grew up in it. Interesting how some people have lower tolerance levels for it than others.

    p.s. Thanks for the follow recently on Twitter!

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