MAKING MY PEACE … with seasonal sadness


Making My Peace … with seasonal sadness


Like the last scene of a riveting adventure movie on a cold night, you know that it will end, that you’ll don your coat over the pretty dress that you really wanted everyone to see, and contemplate the way home. Cheaper by bus, quicker by taxi, even though you’d prefer to walk.

You know the sun has set on summer; autumn is new, and winter is nigh. It’s a downhill run to the longest night of the year – the winter solstice. This year winter solstice falls on 22 December. After that, we know summer is in the distance. But I’m racing ahead of myself – winter solstice is still three months away.

For me, from now until 22 December, the coldness and darkness sneaks upon us more and more, little by little, until the sun sets at four o’clock. Fewer of the sun’s rays will warm your back, your skin will become pasty and pale, while the colour of clothes darken and appear as bleak as the weather.

Routines change: – There’ll be less sitting outside at restaurant terraces listening to summer tunes, and more indoor dining with deeper tones of winter woes and lost loves.

It sounds dismal to me. I sigh. I mope.

I am a summer person.

What is seasonal sadness? It is a mood change. It is a form of sadness that comes before and during the change of seasons. For most people, it’s an annual occurrence.

Sadness is an emotion that runs along a continuum. It could range, for seasonal sadness for example, from mild pining for some summer sun and warmth to full-blown seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – and into a dark, seasonal, clinical depression. In essence, sadness can run the gamut from mild to chronic, seasonal to stressful, off-colour to drained, casual to catastrophic, and easy to brush off to complex and complicated. From a symptom and a shrug, to listlessness, and a doctor’s diagnosis.

There are ways to cope with the annual seasonal mood swings: from heat lamps, to walks, to meditation, to hobbies and sport, to socializing.

I remain optimistic, knowing the changing of the seasons is brief and temporary. Visits to art galleries and museums become more regular, cooking becomes more experimental, cleaning becomes more thorough, gardening becomes more preparatory, and walks become longer and brisker and hillier. What I couldn’t do in the summer heat, I can do in the chill of winter.

I remember the lines of the 1959 song Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds, written by Peter Seger, taken from the book of Ecclesiastes: ‘To everything turn, turn, turn / There is a season turn, turn, turn.’ A time for summer and a time for winter.


Making my peace with seasonal sadness, I learned the following:

  • That there is a right time for everything
  • That seasons come and seasons go
  • That seasons are annual and transient
  • That I have gorgeous seasonal clothes that deserve to be worn
  • That autumnal colours are awesome
  • That I love hot beverages on a cold day
  • That there is something to do whatever the season
  • That coldness makes me appreciate the warmth
  • That darkness makes me appreciate the light


Martina Nicolls: Rainy Day HealingMAKING MY PEACE










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