Sunday, November 25, 2012

Affected


Today the sunrise happened at 9:24 a.m., and it set again at 4:06 p.m.
Between those hours, it wasn't a sunny day at all. It was an in-between gray haze. It has been like this for a couple of weeks and my circadian rhythm is feeling it. It's an amazing thing, my circadian rhythm, when I stop and think about it. It has woken me up between 7:00 and 7:30 since high school without the use of an alarm clock, (the average time a human's melatonin secretion stops). It keeps me feeling energetic when I feed it copious amounts of sunlight in the summer months.Conversely, it is making me want to eat carbohydrates and hibernate when the only sunlight that hits my exposed skin is what permeates overcast skies onto my nose and eyes during my daily neighbourhood walk. That can't be much.
I am picking up on these circadian cues. I don't have full-blown Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD), but I am feeling the affects of the evasive sun. My body feels confused when I wake up and serve dinner in the dark. I miss out on my good hikes, because it is averaging temperatures outdoors that are too cold for my babies. (My personal boundary for them is no outdoor stroller walks below -25) It is supposed to get into the -30s this week, when it will start getting too cold for me to take even the dog for a walk. 
I know it sounds a bit whiny of me when I have been through five Yukon winters before this one, and this year's patterns are no surprise. After a tumultuous year of being pregnant, delivering twins, adjusting to life with preemie newborns and Abby, adjusting to new schedules and lately to Rich returning to work, I have had to rely on routine, good nutrition, regular hikes and yoga to keep me balanced. This time of year, though, I find myself greatly challenged to feel balanced. No matter what I do, I just don't feel like my true self. 
I wonder if I should just give in to what the environment and my body are asking of me: to hibernate, curl up on the couch watching movies and eating food that is heavy and creamy. Or maybe I should fight against it, eat more fresh produce, exercise my cardiovascular system in different ways, keep my day moving swiftly. I'm not sure what the right answer is, but like always I am taking cues from my little ladies.
Abby has been telling me, "Mama, I am just tired," out of nowhere. The babies have been taking naps that are two and three hours long, then sleeping full nights. We have all been slow to wake up in a house that doesn't feel alive until every light is turned on and peppy music is playing. 
We have decorated the house for Christmas, which has given us a little energy boost. We have been crafting Christmas gifts for family. Abby has new paints to play with quietly. We have been watching Christmas movies in forts in the basement. We have been doing some holiday baking and not sharing it (yet!). We have been making sure to go for walks, looking at Christmas lights, watching for fox tracks, going tobogganing on the weekend or, at the very least, getting outside to check the mail-- all bundled up in furs and snowsuits. 
Winter is here, the darkest days are settling in and calling us to slow down, eat well, hibernate.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so on board for gaining a few pounds and sleeping extra. I think the kids should sleep more, too, as they are tired and cranky a lot of the time, it seems...

    ReplyDelete

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