Winter is not a season; it's an occupation - Sinclair Lewis
The last dregs of winter still have a grip on us. We rugged, hearty Lakewoodites are really, really being put to the test. Ask or tell someone how they or you are doing, and you're likely to hear them respond, "cabin fever."
The young Cleveland girl in my 65-year-old self still feels a sense of awe and wonder at the first snow of winter. Silent night, all is calm, all is bright. But these relentless Arctic blasts are spoiling the fun of winter. Add the nightly news warnings to keep your pets, children, and yourself indoors as much as possible, and it starts to feel almost oppressive. Feelings of irritability, low energy or sluggishness, or cravings for starchy carbs are common complaints.
Less social contact or isolation coupled with lack of sufficient exposure to natural light can increase these symptoms. Some individuals may find themselves suffering a more serious, depressed mood. There can sometimes be a more seasonal pattern where these episodes begin in fall or winter and remit in spring. Exposure to even five minutes of natural light a day can be beneficial. Consulting with a psychologist or other licensed therapist is also advised.
I try to remember that March 20 is the Spring Equinox - the official turning from winter to spring. Here's a quote from the famous 18th century writer, von Goethe, to help keep us all inspired:
Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.
Cynthia Kessler, Ph.D. has been a practicing psychologist and psychotherapist in California and more recently Ohio for the past 25 years. She has recently opened her new psychotherapy office in the INA building at 14701 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. She can be contacted at (216) 543-1695. Insurance accepted.