The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

We  are in the SAD months of winter.  This is the time  when
the  days are too short and there is not enough sun.  People  are
tired  and moody.  Even though there is a name for this  feeling,
Seasonal  Affective  Disorder, most people are unaware  that  the                 problem  exists.  Otherwise, they would be more sensitive to  its
effects on themselves, family, friends and co-workers.

Instead of being kinder to each other , people tend to  have
shorter  fuses and to blow up with little provocation.   Is  this
more  prevalent during the winter months?   It seems so  by  just
reading one winter day’s edition of the newspaper.

These months must also adversely affect members of  families
and  children in schools.  After the holiday rush and feeling  of
good  will, there is bound to be a let down.  If you as a  parent
are feeling it maybe now is the time to admit you are SAD and  to
do something about it.  Just admitting it is helpful too  because             
you  know  it is a temporary feeling and will go  away  with  the
In the meantime, try getting yourself and your family out of
the house as much as possible.  Plan ahead for trips that involve
some physical activity.  Instead of sleeping in the middle of the
day,  plan  to  go for a walk while it  is  still  light  outside

Schools  can  do the same thing.  Now is the  time  to  plan
trips out of the building.  With no snow so far this year,  these
trips  are possible.  At the very least, schools might have  more
recess time especially if the students seem tired or moody.  

Other  suggestions  which  would be  helpful  to  homes  and
classrooms  are  to  get  as much light  into  the  buildings  as
possible.   Try  turning on all of lights and  even  adding  more
lights  to  the  rooms.  Take down the heavy  drapes  and  window
shades.   Trim the foliage away from the windows.   If  possible,
paint  the  walls  a light color or cover  the  dark  walls  with
something light.

People seem sadder than usual this year.  This might be  due
to  the  fact  that there was no glistening snow  to  offset  the
grayness of bare tress.  A dark rainy day with no sun can be very

When  adults are sad, and their tempers are short, and  they
are  moody and non-communicative, then they not available to  the    
children.   Children need adults twelve months of the  year.   If
you  feel  sad, do something about it.  If  nothing  else,  treat
yourself  to a big hot fudge sundae.  Apparently a little bit  of  sugar goes a long way when you are SAD.

Posted in From Experience, Parenting | Leave a comment

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