I wake up and bike to work during the winters here... It's pitch black until after 8 AM. After work? Darkness and cold by 5 PM. This is for around 5 months of the year up here. Sure, shit gets annoying during the nastiness of November through March, but you get through it.
A winter in SF would be a vacation.
Edit: Didn't mean to be incendiary here, just wanted to put things in perspective.
Now I'm not particularly affected by seasonality, my daughters are sometimes the opposite, they love the winter because it is when they can go skiiing. But that aspect of it (the looking forward to it) I found is a behavior modifier.
If you find yourself always doing things that you don't like in a particular season, that can affect your mood, you pre-anticipate the sadness. Just like if you do lots of things you like you pre-anticipate the goodness. I figured that to keep balanced the only choice was to find things to like about all unavoidable conditions. Doesn't always work, but it helps.
That's pretty much exactly how I feel about skiing at this time of year - even though I'm in my 40s I still get a childish level of excitement looking out for snowfalls and trying to work out when we can go skiing first (which here in Scotland can be anytime between November and January).
Having said that, sometimes we do get plenty snow here and then our ample supply of hills is quite handy:
I say the same thing when people complain that diabetes is an issue that needs to be addressed. Sure, it's not a good thing, but what about cancer? People with cancer would love to trade it for diabetes. I firmly believe that everyone working on non-cancer research should quit their jobs and work on more meaningful problems.
Also, people working on social apps are wasting their time. Why not work on delivering clean water to third world countries?
And why do people complain about not being able to find jobs here in America? I mean, life isn't that bad, is it? They really should quit whining since there are others in other parts of the world who are dying of starvation.
And isn't it sad that millions of people spend millions of dollars a year on Starbucks coffee? Why don't they instead spend all that money on donating to the homeless? Or donating to the Red Cross?
Anyway, thanks for bringing up this important point. There are so many problems in this world that just aren't worth our time because there's always something much worse out there.
No ad hominem was intended, it was more of a critique of the general idea of forming rebuttals that consist of sarcastic remarks.
A winter depression in any city is no vacation.
No, I "just" have the "winter blues", not a real depression, for witch I am glad.
But knowing someone who does really, really well (and being empathic) just shows me year for year, that there really are a lot of people who just don't get it and try to "cheer" the depressed up.
Know what: Doesn't help, often makes it worse, if they say "Hey, there and there it is much worse, get up, get your sht together, don't make such a fuss...
... and so on.
Try being empathic, we all have our dark hours. Some have it darker, some a little bit lighter. Some are on the bright side, some not so. But we are in this world together and postings like the trolling grandparent really help no one.
So heads up, turn on the lights and I wish you the best during the coming month.
Greetings from Germany. If you are ever in Hamburg, Germany I'd be happy to invite you to a beer/tea/coffee or such.
It was a nice surprise that a colder/Winter state was better for her particular SAD. Seems very counter-intuitive at first, but sometimes an individual's needs aren't so clear. And I just gotta reiterate... the snow reflecting more light into a home, combined with it adding the whole ambiance of a Winter look (rather than the sight of gloom or leafless plants in a more temperate state during winter) seems to have a real beneficial effect. Of course, individual results will vary, this only works for one particular case, but it's still of interest how SAD works and affects each person.
For reference, I grew up in southwestern Oklahoma (far enough north to have snow and winters where the cold/ice was a problem), and lived in Austin from 1996-2005.
I also need sunlight. When I lived in Denver I loved the winters. It got cold, but the sun was shining bright almost every day. It was refreshing to walk out in a nice chill while the sun blazes down. I've talked to friends who lived in the midwest and it sounded horrible. Months of overcast and cole weather. No thanks.
I've worked from SF October to January, and let me tell you that biking around town in a t-shirt is not winter.
When it's dark when you go into work, and you don't have a corner office, and it's dark when you leave your body gets no sunlight. For some, this has a profound effect on mood.
SF's shortest day of the year is 9.4 hours long. Toronto's shortest day is 8.7 hours long, and Toronto is one of Canada's southern-most cities. Montreal and Quebec City have it worse, but those poor damned Calgarians take the cake with only 7.7 hours of daylight on Christmas.
Only about 45 minutes difference from SF here in Hamilton, but still, it's that much closer to being completely eclipsed by the 8-hour workday.
Which brings up the mythological tradition that "real programmers" at "real companies" all work 60 to 80 hour death marches all the time, err, at least according to people who (edited to add: think they) make money when their employees go on death marches. Anyway even in summer I think a potential SAD suffer could theoretically spend weeks not seeing sunlight, and that might be an interesting factor in programming death marches. I'm not trying to encourage a new dotcom management fad of "deathmarches are OK as long as you install bright lights by the Foosball table" but it is interesting to contemplate.
I never stop being surprised y how temperate Western European climates are at equivalent (or higher!) latitudes to ours. "Surprised" is a bit of a euphemism—"pissed off" might be more like it :)
One compensation where I live is that even when the days are cold and short, they are usually brilliantly sunny.
Being in California I was very surprised on a trip to Kansas City once, went from beach weather to snow drifts. A warm ocean nearby makes a huge difference.
I was only imagining how this blog post would of been about 10x its size if the author lived in Norway or Finland. It's good to keep an eye on these things but luckily for the author, SF is one of the places where the sun hits the most, even in the winter.
I just really hate wearing jackets in the city and prefer to endure than to wear one.
Something inside of me is just biologically hardwired to know when its winter and that I should be hunkered down inside when it comes around. It wasn't nearly as big a problem in SoCal but it was still there. My guess is that my generations of northern-dwelling ancestors developed a genetic predisposition towards conserving energy in the winter but I'm no expert...
Part of the difference is that you don't realize it's winter in San Francisco. New England winters make you very aware that it is in fact winter, and thus very legitimate about how you feel during said winter (crappy, lethargic, cold).
It also makes you supremely appreciative of life, spring, summer, and the fall that precedes it. I truly believe living in a place with seasons has made me a better, more self-aware person.
I have no doubt that SAD can strike you anywhere, but seriously, I highly recommend moving somewhere with a real winter. It will harden you and give you an invaluable perspective, and surely SAD will not strike you again in California.