Sad or SAD?

Published 8:28 am Monday, November 3, 2014

It seems with the recent blast of cold weather, fall may finally be here to stay — at least as far as cold weather ever stays in south Louisiana.

And with the cold weather also comes the time change, as clocks were set back one hour last night for the end of daylight saving time.

It is a time many dread, and with good reason. While most welcome the extra hour of sleep the change brings, the altered hours of daylight are a completely different matter.

Following the summer, when most people can still enjoy two or more hours of daylight after the end of the work day, fall brings with it a plethora of headlights for the evening commute. The lighting may have changed, but the activities associated with the hour for the most part have not. So that means we all have to be a little more alert on that drive home since it will be harder to see youngsters riding their bicycles or playing near the roadway.

Although the urge to get out and be with their friends doesn’t diminish for children just because the sun sets a bit earlier, the same cannot be said for many adults.

The lack of daylight can trigger in many seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which is a form of clinical depression. Those affected may experience feelings of sadness or low mood, feelings that can eventually affect one’s work and personal life, as the sufferer may feel unmotivated and retreat into isolation.

The lack of daylight can also wreak havoc on energy levels, causing one to perhaps sleep more and skip walking the dog or going to the gym. Combine that with more snacks consumed in front of the television, and a decline in health is inevitable.

So, hard as it may be, it is important to keep up with summer routines during the cooler months. Exercise can go a long way toward bolstering flagging energy levels and will help temper those extra holiday pounds that so many find themselves with when warmer temperatures return.

Routines keep us grounded and provide a sense of security when the world seems to be going awry. So be aware of how the changing seasons affect you, and don’t skip that family gathering or party, even if you don’t really feel like going. Social contact is often the best remedy for feeling low.

Just maybe skip the eggnog.

David Vitrano is general manager and managing editor of The Daily News. He can be reached at david.vitrano@the