BY TONY WANLESS
Doctors have long understood that, in these months, most people begin to feel sad, less energetic, quieter and, often, sleepier.
Our moods aren’t as cheerful as they were in the summer. Life seems more difficult. Happiness has gone.
In Vancouver, this end-of-the-year sadness is stronger. The dark, cold, rainy days and constant gloom make many people feel tired and glum.
These feelings are often called the “blahs” or “The Blues” – like in the songs about trouble and heartache.
Because our bodies need light to create the chemicals in our brains that make us happy or energetic, we often feel sad and unhappy, more tired, and, sometimes, hopeless, in the darkest times of the year.
But not everyone is affected by the year-end blues. Some people live through the period with few problems while others are so sad they want to pull a blanket over their heads until springtime.
This last feeling is more formally termed seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a form of mental illness caused by a lack of light.
Doctors say that the best way to survive the year-end months is by being involved in activities like exercise and spending more time with friends and family.
These keep you energized during the dark period. Joyful activities produce chemicals in the brain that make you happy and so help beat the blues.
Also, most religions have created something to help the (mostly western) world survive the blues.
It’s called Christmas, which began as a religious ceremony in much of the Northern world as a way to cheer up people in the darkest time of year. Now, it is almost a month-long celebration that makes us happier.
So have a merry, happy Christmas, everyone. And try to remain cheerful.
disorder: a state of confusion
affected: acted upon; influenced
formally: in accordance with the rules of convention or etiquette
western: living in or originating from the west, in particular Europe or the United States