Top ten ways to beat the seasonal mood swings

Sun plays a very, very important role in our overall wellbeing. I am not saying anything new, am I? Everyone knows this.

But this taken-for-granted-sun has really made its point. And how well! Till very recently, I did not really understand how sun influences our personal and mental well-being and how much can it really affect our mood.

The full force of its power has recently dawned upon me. NZ is in midst of a full blown winter.  This means we have very short days here and very long nights right now. For the past couple of weeks, sun has been rising at 7.45am (OMG, can you believe that?) and sets at 4.57pm. On most days, its gloomy, rainy and windy. Sun just gives us a formal guest appearnace once in a while and behaves like a celebrity who walks into a party late, knows his worth, charms everyone and leaves just as quickly.

I am observing how depressing this can get. Not getting enough day light can seriously affect moods. When I wake up at 7, it is so dark, that I have to summon every little speck of power within me to leave the warm comfort of bed, and step into yet another cold, gloomy day. When I leave office at 5.15pm, it is so dark that it seems like 8pm. Ya. So basically, my exposure to sun is now limited to the weekends only, provided that sun decides to come out on a weekend. If it also decides to take a weekend off, it gets extremely dull and can also get quite depressing.

With this, comes a crushing realization of just how powerful nature is. And how paradoxical life is! And how it makes you want things you do not have! When I was in India, I used to rant about how hot summers got. And now when I am in NZ,  how much I crave for some sun and light. I really need a Vitamin D fix. Urgently.

There have been studies on this unique condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. People with SAD, seem to have depressive mood spells in autum and winter. I am not getting into the whole scientific part of SAD. Am just saying that what so many people are experiencing is not baseless.

But lets take charge of this and do small things to keep black mood at bay. Let us not let it affect us so much. It’s all in our mind, and we can control this.

Top ten ways to beat the seasonal mood swings:

  1. Try to be upbeat, and not have lingering, depressing thoughts. Stay happy. Train your mind to think happy thoughts.
  2. Surround yourself with postive people and people who love to laugh. You definitely do not need negative, overly critical, unreasonably judgemental, and people who constantly find reasons to complain. You need more positive aura around you.
  3. Listen to your favourite fast music. Your favourite peppy number. Have a go-to playlist for such days or listen to your favourite song in loop. Whichever way you like really.
  4. Steer clear of sad, depressing songs.
  5. Call, talk, meet, skype with your family and excahnge good conversations. It really lighthens the mood.
  7. Ease up on coffee and eat your favourite food.
  8. Watch classics and funny movies.
  9. Develop a hobby. If you already have one, lose yourself in it.
  10. And you may want to use more white lights at home as opposed to dim, yellow lights.





That old fashioned love

These days saying “I love You” is as common as saying hello. Look around you to know what I mean. How easily people say those three magical words.

I think a lot of people are using the words ‘love’ and ‘like’ interchangeably. It’s not common for high school girls and boys to be in “love” with someone. They easily fall in love, and at the slightest quarrel, fight or argument, they fall out of love and break-up. By the time they have passed college, they have fallen in and out of love at least five or six times. Isn’t love supposed to be ageless, a classic?

In this world of instant gratification, instant communication, instant food, instant money, instant, early and easily available sex everyone is super impatient. No one wants to wait. By the age of 12-13, girls and boys in schools start to feel complex-ed if they don’t already have a boy/girlfriend. They are impatient to wait for the right one to come by at right time. By the age of 15-16, they start keeping a score of how many girls they are doing and how many have they already done. By the age of 20, they have seen it all. They have been in and out of love several times, some have married, some have had kid/s and by 22-23 when they ideally should have begun dating, they are fighting legal battles and filing divorces. No wonder, the whole love thing has left a bitter taste and led them to believe that there isn’t such a thing.

Unfortunately, morals have hit an all time low. Love is confused with sex. Your desirability quotient is judged by your virginity. If you are still a virgin at 20 or 22, then there has got to be something wrong with you.

I personally think that this whole thinking is flawed. The peer pressure on the Western society to ‘do’ it as soon as they are in high school, to start relations so early in life when your little mind is incapable of knowing what you will want 8 years down the line has led to so many complicated relationships around us. Obviously what you think is right and perfect as a teenager doesn’t seem so correct when you become an adult, does it? No wonder then the divorce rate in these countries is more than 50%. Because marriage is no longer for keeps. It’s as easy to opt out of marriage as easy it is to get in. Then what’s wrong with a country like India, which is a little conservative, where sex outside marriage is still considered a taboo for a majority. But at least, people are willing to wait it out before they are adults. At least marriages in India don’t fall apart so easily.

I am not sitting on a moral horse and saying sex outside marriage is bad or anything. That is for each person to think for himself and decide depending upon his beliefs. And in today’s world where urban people put off marriage till late 20s, it’s impossible to think that they wouldn’t have had any sex before that. But the moot point is, what is the need to start so early…at 13/14? Why are kids impatient to be become adults? Why can’t they wait till the time is right and save themselves serious relationship issues?

And even for adults…what is love actually? How can we have 5 serious relations in 5 years and claim to be in love with all? Then there is something definitely wrong with our definition of love, isn’t it? Why don’t we wait for the right person to come along? Why are we eager to pledge out love to any “single” person that crosses our path?

What IS love then?

Love takes its time. It grows eventually. When it happens, it hits you exactly where it should. It makes you want to take extra effort to make your relationship work; it makes you want to give your best rather than just think about receiving. It is unconditional. It makes you love someone with their irritating habits. It won’t change even if people change. Because people are bound to change a little every passing year. So when you love someone you love them exactly as they are, without expecting them to change, and exactly how they will be in the future. You will love them even if they become someone you don’t agree with.

And I feel love by itself is nothing. It’s just a summation of a lot of other wonderful feelings like friendship, understanding,sacrifice, respect, communication, laughter, trust, attraction, companionship and belief.

So don’t rush into saying “I love You” to anyone and everyone, keep it for that special one, say only when you are absolutely convinced it is love. And when you are absolutely convinced about it, the words will make their way to your lips. You will feel like you have to get them out and let the person know. But wait till that kind of urgency and compulsion to confess grips you.

Let’s not steal the thunder from those three words, let it have that special effect on the person who hears them. And that will happen only when we wait for the right time and the right person and use those words only sparingly.

Let’s bring meaning back to those three words!! Let’s bring back the old fashioned love.