Do you have the winter blues? Do you feel moody, distracted, sad or just down in the dumps during the winter months? Is it affecting your writing productivity? If you are, you may have seasonal affective disorder or (S.A.D.). On Thursday evening, I had the privilege of listening to a wonderful teleclass about S.A.D.. that was presented by Simon Rose, from the Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club. It was a wonderful and insightful teleclass. Simon brought up a lot of important points for writers. Today, I will reflect on some of these points. S.A.D. is also known as winter depression or winter blues. It is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter. S.A.D. is a form of depression caused by a lack of natural light during the winter months. Interestingly, S.A.D. is most prevalent in those regions that have very little sunlight, such as areas in higher latitudes. Symptoms of S.A.D. include: feelings of depression, lethargy, fatigue, cravings for sweets and starches, headaches, sleep patterns and irritability. For instance, Simon mentioned that the rate for S.A.D. in Finland is a whopping 10 percent, whereas in Florida, the rate for S.A.D. is 1.5 percent. What a difference geography makes! So, if you suffer from S.A.D., what can you do in order to improve your move and therefore your overall writing productivity? 1. Use more lights, even if you just add an extra lamp or two in your work area to brighten things up. 2. Put in a sky light, if that is possible in your home, and especially where you are writing. 3. Get outside for a walk every day or every other day. It will really lift your spirits. 4. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Exercise can help with depression and make you feel better about yourself. 5. Watch your diet. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and try to resist eating a lot of white bread, starch and sweets. 6. Get a good night sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep can substantially help you to feel better and to be much more productive. 7. Take some time away from the house and from your writing and do something else entirely. You may want to go for to the movies. Or you may want to just go out for a coffee for an hour or two. Whatever, it is, just do something completely different. So, if you suffer from S.A.D., give yourself a break. You’ll be very glad that you did and you will be much more productive than you were before. Thanks so much for such a wonderful teleclass Simon! To your good health! Irene For more information on Simon Rose visit his website at: www.simon-rose.com.