Fighting Off SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a fairly common depression that happens usually during the winter months of the year. At least a partial cause is the  lack of sunlight often experienced by those affected. We wake up, it’s dark, we go to work away from any sunlight and when we leave, it’s dark again. In my experience it can be more than that though. For me personally, it occurs right before Christmas, because, well, I spend Christmas alone.

Yes, I buy myself an advent calendar every year.

I spend Christmas alone because a) I live in Toronto, and the majority of my family lives in Winnipeg (though my older brother recently moved back to Vancouver, where he has lived most of my life, 15 year age difference and all); b) I work in retail, so going home for Christmas isn’t really an option when you work until 7:30pm on Christmas Eve and have to be back at work as early as 5am on Boxing Day (this year I start at 1:30pm). And thus, this experience is numbering my days in a retail store (I’d love a head office position though). It would perhaps be better if I had a partner who’s family I could spend Christmas with, but as I am currently single, SAD seems hits hard.

IMG_0327Traditional Ukranian Christmas Eve dinner with cabbage rolls, onions, perogies, pickerel, pickled herring and borscht… plus Christmas Vacation playing.

It usually begins about a week before Christmas. And though I can fight it off from time to time, overall it’s tough. I purposely make Christmas Eve (my family’s big day as my maternal side is Ukranian) as much like it could be back home as possible. I make all the traditional food. Open a few of my presents, and facetime in to my family’s dinner where I get a brief chat with everyone from my siblings, parents, nephews, and other people who show up, with slightly longer conversations with my younger brother and my mom. And then I watch Christmas Vacation (family tradition) and drink wine. Christmas morning involved me facetiming my parents while I open my stocking, and drinking mimosas while I watch Home Alone and The Santa Clause. This year I also got an invite to a friend’s family’s house for dinner, which is nice. They are like my family with Christmas Day being of less importance, and the invite was so thoughtful and sweet that I’m looking forward to it. My friend and I are going skating first which will be great!

IMG_0329Spike and I in our Christmas outfits!

As much as I can do my best to fight off SAD, it does still get me. My goal is to get home for next Christmas (or as my mom would prefer, we’d all fly somewhere warm for Christmas… though I told her I need one at home with my nephews first). In the meantime, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or send love if you don’t celebrate Christmas.