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Complaining about the winter in SF? Really? I understand seasonal depression, but that can't even hold a candle to the bullshit we see up here in the Great Salted North.

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.

Except that Jason isn't complaining about the Winter. He was pointing out that it affects his state of mind. Surprisingly, a number of people don't recognize this.

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.

"you pre-anticipate the goodness"

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).

Seriously! Just find something wintry you can enjoy (and with skiing, enjoy more than almost any other activity) and you'll never dread the great white winter ever again.

I'm new to SF, but as far as I can tell it doesn't get cold enough to create new opportunities, just cold enough to make normal outdoor activities a lot less fun.

You don't have to go skiing _in_ San Francisco, you just have to mentally link the colder weather with snow in Tahoe.

Exactly, we don't usually get a lot of snow here in Edinburgh - but there are 4 ski areas within two to three hours drive of here (Cairngorm, Nevis Range, Glencoe and Glenshee - in my personal order of preference).

Having said that, sometimes we do get plenty snow here and then our ample supply of hills is quite handy:


I finally moved y family to somewhere that I can go snowboarding in the winter without making it a week long event!

Thanks for putting this into perspective.

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.

"Sarcasm isn't advanced, it's the inexperienced man's preference."

"A witty saying proves nothing."

I would agree, although I'd also say there's nothing particularly witty or clever about the one I posted.

And it didn't really have a point. Unless your intention was to refute the message of mine through ad-hominem-via-rap-lyrics.

I assure you it had a point, and I apologize if it was obscured by way of the quote. The point being that, well, perhaps your point would be better expressed through non-sarcastic means.

No ad hominem was intended, it was more of a critique of the general idea of forming rebuttals that consist of sarcastic remarks.

Except maybe on the basis of the substance delivered? He makes a fair point sarcasm or not.

So all seven billion people need to be working on keeping all seven billion at the same general health level, rather than anything they might personally be interested in or skilled at?

I'm pretty sure that kyro was being sarcastic.

The important comparison is not the cause but the outcome. I've lived in Boston, New Hampshire, Scotland, and San Francisco. And in each, I've suffered from seasonal depression.

A winter depression in any city is no vacation.

I second this.

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.

My sister has issues with SAD, and she lives in Texas. I don't know if it just went unrecognized while she lived here, or everyone else is just so bitter during that time that it's just the norm. It seems the folks I know with SAD issues are from very temperate zones, which makes no sense to me when I know what I have to do the next day: trudge through 17 degree F temperatures at 7 AM on a bicycle.

My Mother has SAD, suffered for years with it in various parts of CA (too much gloom during winter, even though the days were long and sunny spring-autumns), but now lives in a northern mid-west state. We discovered that SAD doesn't affect her as much there for a couple reasons we can only guess at. The sun was out more often even on bone-chilling days, and the snow on the ground reflecting the light was far, far better for her than the gloomy rainy winter days of CA.

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.

I live in Houston, and have problems with SAD. Even though I absolutely love fall/winter and colder temperatures, I've been very in-the-dumps lately as our local weather transitions to what counts as "winter" here. Need to start taking VitD again.

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.

Well said. Do you use a 10K LUX lamp to help with the winter blues/seasonal depression? I find it helps me. 1 hour of it in the morning while I read a book and I'm good to go.

I don't really think that being flip about this very real issue is helping anyone. And, honestly? As someone from Pittsburgh now living in a milder part of the country, nobody is amused by the chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that people get about how hard their winters are compared to elsewhere. I mean, you might as well brag about contaminants in the water supply or how corrupt your local government is.

Why does it really matter if it's NY, SF, or anything in between? His SAD is due to a lack of sunlight and not cold temperatures. It also affects some people much more than others. I seem immune to it and don't miss daylight a bit during the winter months, while my wife must have a lamp for 15 minutes a day or else depression starts to set in.

His SAD is due to a lack of sunlight and not cold temperatures.

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.

Will have to agree here. As someone who's working from Canada, this post is semi-funny.

I've worked from SF October to January, and let me tell you that biking around town in a t-shirt is not winter.

It's about daylight exposure, not temp. Working indoors is a relatively new phenomenon in humans and effects us all a little differently.

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.

Remember that the days are even shorter in Canadian winter, too.

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.

"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 by just how far south everyone lives in Canada. London gets about 7 hours and 50 minutes of daylight on the shortest day; in Scotland it's less than 7 hours.

Yes, we're almost all huddled in a narrow ribbon against the southern border.

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.

Yep, the gulf stream.

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.

One interesting thing to do is to scroll a Google Map world-view sideways, with your finger on European cities, and see where the correspond around the world. It's very surprising (and visual too).

I live in northern Norway. Soon I won't see the sun more than a few hours a day and later it will disappear and not come back before the spring. :(

Not being able to see daylight from your workplace is illegal in most Western countries. With the exception of certain jobs where it is impossible to avoid of course.

Really? I've seen offices in the USA, Australia and England that don't have a view out a window, I'd be surprised if they were all breaking some laws. Can you give any specific countries?

Observationally I think there's a huge exercise component, in past centuries miners, textile/sweatshop workers, and assemblyline workers didn't seem to suffer.

Weren't their lives pretty miserable anyway? Can you max out your unhappiness meter?

That's an interesting theory. Data about union votes to start/end strikes vs month of year vs latitude could show some correlation where union outdoor worker hotheads in June will strike till they win but in January some important percentage of them would be more likely to give up. I don't think the data shows a correlation but a more serious attempt at research might find something.

Totally agree (I think temp also plays a role, if your body is working harder to preserve higher temperatures = more tired).

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 have biked and walked in a t-shirt in -17 Celsius. Cold temperature t-shirt tolerance varies a lot with people.

I just really hate wearing jackets in the city and prefer to endure than to wear one.

He is talking about a mental affliction and how the time of year affects it... not making small talk about the weather.

Complaining about winter in the Great Salted North? Obviously not far enough north! That doesn't hold a candle to what 'we' see up in (Iceland|Greenland|Alaska|Yellowknife|Siberia). We can play this game all day long, or we could do something more constructive than 'brag' about how hard you have it.

Misery and discomfort are relative. If you started complaining, then people in Siberia will start laughing. We all have our pain, and we don't have to justify it across all of humanity -- else, nobody in first world countries should ever complain.

I grew up in the Northeastern US, snowy winters and all that. But its strange, even when I lived in sunny Southern California and it was 80 degrees and clear in December I'd still feel a little depressed and would sort of hibernate in the winter time. It was frustrating, because I knew damn well that it was beautiful and sunny outside and I shouldn't feel this way but I did.

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...

Try moving to New England from San Francisco.

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.

I'm from the UK, and while I wasn't particularly aware of SAD for many years, it's clear it affected me to varying extents each winter. Moving to San Francisco definitely lessened the impact, but it isn't completely gone; though it probably helps a little that due to the long, tiresome summers here I actually like the refreshing cold snap we're in right now.

It would be. In fact, if you suffered from seasonal depression you would probably love the first winter in SF! However after a few years you'd adjust and that would be your new low and you'd be back to square 1.

This isn't complaining about the weather though, SAD doesn't care whether the weather is fine for 8 or 9 or 10 months of the year, and it's two middling ones at the end, it'll kick your arse when sunlight is taken away.

Typical response from someone who doesn't understand any form of mental illness as they have been blessed to not suffer from it. Try some empathy.

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