I sometimes think, that people ought to celebrate making it all the way through to the end of November. The November Blues are for real!
At least here in Canada, or in the Northern Hemisphere I would say to be precise.
There just seems to be something about the month of November, that makes it one of the most difficult months of the year for a lot of people it seems.
The Likely Culprits
Perhaps the reason why a lot of us seem to have a difficult time with the month of November, may be due to one of the following:
- Lack of daylight / sunshine
- Cold temperatures
- Lack of exercise and fresh air due to shorter days
- Lack of vitamin D, (see lack of sunshine above)
- Less socializing due to poor mood / fatigue / weather
- Generally feeling terrible, due to any or all of the above factors!
Is It Seasonal?
Absolutely! November seems to occur every year like clock work. Right around this time of year too.
All kidding aside, the November Blues seem to roll around and catch us unaware each and every year despite our best efforts.
Despite our telling ourselves, this year I am going to be prepared for it.
- I know that the decreases in daylight hours are coming.
- I know that I tend to feel lower in energy, and less motivated at this time of year
- I know that I often have to push myself to go outside and do something, to get exercise
- I even know… that I know ALL of this… and that I see it coming each and every year… and yet, somehow it seems to catch us by surprise.
What’s Really Going On?
As it turns out, there is some research out there that has been done.
A researcher by the name of Norman Rosenthal wrote a book called Winter Blues. Does this sound familiar? Does this sound a bit like these “November Blues” that I’ve been describing? It sure does to me!
Technically “November” is not a part of winter. It is still a part of the fall season. But I think for a lot of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, it may as well be winter. Because a lot of us are already hitting the minus degree temperatures already, and some have had quite a few inches of snow already.
Those of you in places like Winnipeg, Northern Ontario and Quebec, Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Northern BC, Nova Scotia, Edmonton… No need to raise your hand, we know your pain!
Well if all that minus degree weather and those “early” snow storms weren’t bad enough…. apparently the sun’s rays have been diminishing in strength, and the days have been getting shorter since around mid-August.
That’s right… Mid-August!
As we pull out our fingers and do the math… that’s right, the days have been getting shorter for over 3 months!!!
And we wonder why we feel so darn bad and awful waking up in the morning, and seem to have little energy throughout the day.
You guessed it… it’s the Winter / November Blues!
The Good News!
There’s good news?
Yes, there’s always good news. In a few short days, good luck willing, we will have all survived yet another November. I for one, will be more than happy to put another November behind me.
The trick is… okay, so I promised you good news, and there was some.
But the trick is, that a lot, if not most of us will forget that this November thing, more particularly this “November Blues” thing is set to roll around yet again next year.
In fact, it’s scheduled to roll around again at the very same time next year. It’s even on the calendar!
The reason I mention this, is because a lot of us will forget just how bad we are feeling right now. A lot of us will forget that…
Hey! Didn’t he just say, that some researcher guy determined that the sun’s rays started decreasing in mid-August?
Yup! In fact, I’d even recommend that when you get that brand new 2016 puppy calendar this year for Christmas… the one you are going to get instead of that brand new video game, or the latest season of Game of Thrones on DVD that you were hoping for…
Here’s what you do with it….
- Unwrap it with wild abandon
- Have a look in your eye like this is the most amazing gift ever!
- Once you have unwrapped it and stare at it with absolute delight
- Run quickly to a far room in the house and get yourself a bright marker
- Quickly flip the pages of your new puppy calendar to the month of August
- When you get there, let out a satisfied “Phew” (There it is August!)
- Take that bright marker and circle “August 15th” 3 times!
- Hold it up in front of you like you had just painted the Mona Lisa!
- People will look at you like you are nuts!
- They will ask you questions!
- They will look at their gifts and wonder if they have been short-changed
- Don’t answer their questions, just smile contentedly to yourself
- You’ve just alerted yourself into the future, that this time is going to come around yet again, and that it starts in AUGUST! Mid-August to be exact!
- And then, set your precious calendar down and casually walk away, and then ever so often watch as people can’t help but look at your new calendar and wonder what is so special about that puppy calendar?
- And if you should have mercy upon them, you can just tell them that you just took the first key steps to warding off the November Blues!
- Some will understand… most won’t… but the key is, that when mid-August rolls around next year, you will already be thinking about it, and more importantly, stocking up on Vitamin D Costco style!
Please Note: This same valuable exercise, can be performed with any other calendar than the aforementioned 2016 puppy calendar. I just thought I would prepare you for the likely rendition.
Keep Your Spirits Up!
November is almost over. Keep your spirits up. We have almost vanquished the November Blues for another year!
That’s the good news. The other good news just down the road, is that the days will start to get longer again somewhere around December 21st.
But that means that there is still this thing called winter ahead of us. And that means paying attention to our moods and energy levels, and doing whatever we can to ensure good physical, mental and emotional health all winter long.
If you think that you may be someone who suffers from what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), please see my further detailed post on my blog.
Otherwise, take good care of yourselves this winter, and feel free to share with me your own unique experiences with receiving calendars at Christmas time.
Puppies for the win!
Important Note: This is the part where I should tell you, that sometimes just taking extra Vitamin D, and taking good care of yourself may not be enough. If you find that you are having serious difficulties, and believe that you may be suffering from depression, please seek the help of a qualified counsellor or mental health professional. In extreme events, if you should feel suicidal urges or tendencies, please call 911, a suicide action line (available for Vancouver Island in the Resources section of this site), or take yourself immediately to the hospital.
Despite the light tone of this article, depression is very serious. Please reach out for the help that you need, and best of all, listen to the advice of those around you, who may notice changes in your behaviour or mood that you may not be aware of.
Be safe, and be well