Lesson 31: Fighting lethargy

I’m struggling to write this because of lethargy.

The irony is not lost on me, that this blog is meant to teach me the things I’ve already dealt with but it is a lesson I’m currently dealing with so it’s going up. Around December, something strange happens in London.

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We always seem to misplace the sun. 

It may sound silly to blame the levels of productivity and energy on the sun, especially if you’ve never experienced complete weeks, where the sun looks like its about to set at 1pm but it really is a thing. 

The lack of light affects our circadian rhythms, our sensitivities to light and it even scrambles with out serotonin levels. Luckily, my lethargy isn’t an extreme case and it hasn’t spiralled into a complete mood disorder, namely Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

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Yes, SAD is a real thing. Here are a few papers, if you’d like to learn more: 

  1. Increased Seasonal Variation in Serotonin Transporter Binding in Seasonal Affective Disorder,(Tyrer et al., 2016)
  2. Seasonal Affective Disorder, Chapter 22, (DeRubeis and Strunk, n.d.)
  3. Seasonal difference in brain serotonin transporter binding predicts symptom severity in patients with seasonal affective disorder, (Mc Mahon et al., 2016)

My miraculous plan to beat lethargy

1. SEE THE LIGHT

This may sound like an oxymoron, to somehow expose myself to light when there’s barely any light to go around but we live in the twenty first century buddy! Along with taking morning walks, I’ve decided to boost my exposure to light by investing in a daylight lamp. By fooling my body into thinking I’m getting enough sunlight, hopefully my happy hormones will push into gear. I may just be clutching at straws but it’s always worth a go! Will it work? I’ll get back to you on that one…

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2. Move!

It’s cold and dark so of course the natural response is to seek warmth and comfort but too much can actually enhance this feeling of lethargy. Simple tasks like foregoing your car and walking to the supermarket will make a world of difference. I do yoga in the early mornings and I walk whenever I can now. You can dance, run or even do a few stretches, it all helps. 

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If you’re needing any inspiration to get moving, this song always gets me going… 

3. Talk about it and make a conscious effort

Just talking about how you’re feeling with a friend, work colleague or loved one can make you feel a bit better. Chances are, they’re experiencing something similar so it’s nice to share the burden and push for change with someone whose going through the same thing. By voicing how we feel, we can start to take conscious efforts to change this feeling into something positive. 

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Do you have any tips and tricks to beat the lethargy, I’ll take anything I can get! Let me know in the comments below. 

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