PUBLISHED: 13:52 26 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 30 August 2017

Let there be more light! Cornwall Life columnist Simon Tregoning speaks out for SAD sufferers

Cornwall is famed for its fantastic natural light - but even here we need more during the winter...

Down here in Cornwall we definitely feel the weather and the seasons more acutely than city dwellers.

The summer is great but I have to admit I struggle with winter. The sun is too lazy to do more than haul its sorry backside just above the horizon, the sky doesn’t do blue anymore and can only manage a dull shade of grey, the wind is a constantly nagging irritant and we have that special form of wet misery called mizzle. This aversion to winter has a name, Seasonal Affective Disorder (which glories in the perfect acronym - SAD) and I am definitely a sufferer. It is thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight affecting the balance of the happy hormone, serotonin being outgunned by the moody hormone, melatonin. The symptoms of SAD are: irritability, a loss of pleasure in everyday activities, lethargy, a craving for carbohydrates and weight gain. All that makes sense although I have to admit those symptoms do bear a more than passing resemblance to a hangover but, then again, I suppose that is appropriate because, on a seasonal scale, the winter feels like the payback for the summer party.

But it is not just we SAD-ers (or is it SAD-ists) who suffer. Wikipedia tells us that the third Monday in January is meant to be the most depressing day of the year for the whole population. So, forget the Ides of March and beware Monday, 18 January. But then, a second look at my Google search reveals a much more uplifting take on the day. A website called declares that this is the day for people to focus on doing good for each other – not necessarily presents and cards, just little acts of kindness (or big ones, if you like)’.

So we just have to take the rough with the smooth - the better the party, the deeper the hangover. I am not just going to roll over and indulge my winter hangover. We have crested the shortest day of the year and dusk is being pushed a little bit further back around the clock each day. We are on the road to summer and I am with the wise owls from national-awareness-days. All I need to do now is to identify the lucky recipient of my act of benevolence on Monday, 18 January.

This column first appeared in Cornwall Life January 2016 issue.

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