Seasonal Affective Disorder: Human Hibernation

My father and I “hibernate” in the Winter.  There is just something about cold days, cloudy skies, and early sunsets that force us inside, onto the couch, bundled up like Eskimo’s, watching tv with the heat cranked up to 80 degrees!  Yeah, not very productive at all.  We also tend to over-eat during the Winter, I mean who doesn’t during the holidays, except we tend to put on weight that seems to shed immediately in the Spring without any effort at all.  It is as if our bodies needed the extra weight to stay warm or something.  So, we just always joked that we were hibernating; however, it turns out there is a medical name for it: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a state of depression that occurs when the seasons change; most people experience SAD during the Winter months.  While some people can experience major depression, most just feel like “hibernating.”  Basically, we lack energy, we over-eat, and become homebodies until the weather warms up again.

Tends to Happen To Outdoorsy People

SAD can happen to anybody, but personally, I believe it tends to happen more to people who enjoy outdoor activities.

Growing up, we were an outdoorsy kind of family.  During the summer, most days were spent at the lake or playing in our pool.  During the cooler months, our family spent the weekends trail blazing the dunes and mountains with off-road vehicles.  Our family was always busy!  Seriously, we rarely had time for video games, tv, or computers.  Well, back then, our computer ran on DOS with huge floppy disks, our movies were on VHS, and the only gaming console we ever had (other than classic Nintendo) was the very first PlayStation, so we were kind of forced outside anyways.  My father always had a project of some sort and spent most of his time outside working in his shed or garage.  The point is, we were a busy active family.

aSeason

However, every Winter, like seasonal clockwork, my father would batten down the hatches, lock up his shed and close his garage.  He would then put on his sweat pants, slippers, turn up the heat, and watch tv until Spring came; well, at least find an indoor hobby or project to keep him busy until Spring.  His mood never drastically changed, like never grumpy or anything, but he pretty much would “hibernate.”  He would always say, “Its too cold to do anything.”  My father wasn’t lazy though, if he needed to go outside and work, he would always do it without any complaints; however, he would always fire up the large propane jet heater, blasting hot air into the area of his work space.  Simply, my father does not do cold weather and neither do I.

My First Winter Without SAD

Last year was my first Winter EVER without experiencing SAD and I GOT FAT!  I gained a bunch of weight last winter (as usual) and surprisingly, I didn’t shed a pound of it in the Spring as my body normally does, on it own, every year without the need to exercise.   I even started the Spring season by taking my girls for walks, getting back into an active routine again!  Unfortunately, I think it made me fatter.  I addressed my weight-gain to my doctor who assured me that nothing is wrong and gladly welcomed me to Adulthood, claiming my metabolism is shot due to my age.  Apparently, 30 is the new 60!  Awesome. 

I really do think not having SAD last winter had some impact on my metabolism.  I didn’t eat, because I was cold and depressed, I ate because it was the holidays and holiday foods are the best!  Basically, I didn’t hibernate like I usually do.  I know I didn’t, because I really do not recall the overwhelming feeling of disappointment with the first day of cold weather last year.  I never wanted to sit in my pajamas and binge watch tv, nor did I crank the heat up to 80 degrees.  We also had a mild winter, where most days were actually quite warm, sunny, with blue skies, so maybe my body didn’t even recognize it was Winter to kick in SAD.  Whatever the reason, I didn’t experience SAD last Winter, I am still walking around 10lbs heavier, and I am “officially” old now.

SAD vs Just Don’t Like Cold Weather

I still hate cold weather.  My husband once suggested us moving to Alaska.  He woke up the next morning with divorce paperwork next to his pillow.  I do not do cold climates, in which is funny, as he often reminds me, considering my ancestors were mostly from Northern Europe, with a good bunch of them from like Norway and Finland.  Well, apparently, the genes that allowed my ancestors to tolerate cold weather have been largely deactivated forcing me to wear a sweater all year round.  I am not even hairy!

However, I do not think SAD is going to kick in this year, because I excitedly welcomed the cold weather.  I do not know why, probably, because Summer was so intensely hot.  I am surprisingly looking forward to hot soup, delicious hot chocolate, ugly sweaters, cute boots, and pretty scarfs.  After a few days of looking super cute holding a cup of Starbucks, I am pretty sure I will be eagerly wishing for Spring to hurry up again!  Because lets face it, I still really do not like cold weather.

SAD Season Is Approaching

How do you beat Seasonal Affective Depression?  Well, by engaging in healthy activities.  Depression is still depression and left untreated can make depression worse.  We don’t want that…so I recommend the following:

  • Get dressed every morning, whether you feel like it or not, get dressed.
  • Find an indoor hobby (other than zombie tv watching), like reading, painting, or even take up baking
  • If you are going to eat more, eat healthy.  You can have the holiday goodies, but save them for after a meal, like a dessert.
  • Keep a journal.  SAD can bring out some emotions, write them down.
  • Don’t be lazy, if something needs to be done, get it done.
  • Open the window shades, let in the light!
  • Bundle up for some fresh-air.  When the sun finally breaks through the winter sky, go outside and enjoy it!
  • Enjoy company.  You don’t have to go anywhere, but you can certainly invite friends over for some fun.

Those are just a few things that help me get through SAD every Winter.  Everyone experiences SAD differently, but if SAD brings on severe depression, like, thoughts of suicide, lack of enjoyment in your favorite activities, severe moodiness, and trouble sleeping, please talk to your doctor.

 

 

Do you like Winter?  What are your favorite activities to do when it is cold outside?

 

 

 

Mommy’s Hair Needs Help: An Honest Hair Product Review

ShampooAfter pregnancy, our bodies change; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

Personally for me, after having my second kid, everything stayed pretty much the same except, for my hair… My hair got super gross. 

Yup, for some reason my hair went from super soft and beautiful to excessively greasy and dull.  The oil glands in my hair follicles were definitely out of whack after pregnancy, producing excessive sebum (natural oils) into my hair.

Tried Everything

For an entire year, I tried everything to restore my hair back to normal, but nothing worked…

  • I had my hair professionally washed at a salon.  It was back to its oily, greasy-looking, straw-like, dull self by the end of the day.
  • I bought expensive recommended shampoo products from the salon.  Those products, although great for maintaining normal hair, do not work well for restoring oily -greasy hair.
  • I tried many different cleansing products using such brands as TRESemmé, Suave, Pantene, Garnier, and Herbal Essences.  Unfortunately, no luck with those products either.
  • I even changed my diet, by drinking more water.  No change in my hair, but I’m much more hydrated now.

Temporary Relief With Hair Spray

Through much trial and error, I did find a temporary solution to reducing the excessive oils in my hair: HAIR SPRAY.  Alcohol-based hair spray will “dry” up the oils in your hair.

Every night, before taking a shower, I would spray my scalp with hair-spray.  After about 10 minutes, I would comb my hair.  Then, I would wash my hair with normal inexpensive shampoo (scalp only) in cold water.  Rinse my hair thoroughly, comb, and dry.  To reduce greasy hair, I nixed washing my hair with conditioner in the shower and switched to using a leave-in-conditioner that I would only apply to the ends of my hair.

Although it didn’t remove all the oils from my hair, my hair did look a little better, but it did not last very long.

A Little Research Goes A Long Way: Discovering The Real Problem

A year after pregnancy, my body should have returned back to normal.  If pregnancy did throw my oil glands out of whack, I shouldn’t be producing excessive amounts of oil in my hair anymore.  So what gives! 

Product residue.  Did you know shampoos and conditioners can leave residue in your hair, no matter how thoroughly you think you rinsed your hair?   Crazy huh?  Well, turns out that was my problem.

Pregnancy did mess up my hair for a little while by producing excessive oils.  However, what I did not know, is that while my body was a little out of whack from pregnancy, residue from my shampoo and conditioner was building up on my scalp trapping in the excessive production of sebum (natural oils).  Eventually, when my body went back to normal after pregnancy, I had an unknown build-up problem due to natural oils and product residue making my hair oily and greasy.  None of the remedies that I tried worked, because I was focused on getting rid of the oils rather than the residue that trapped the oils onto my scalp.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.  If you click on the link, you will be directed to Amazon where you have the option to make a purchase.  If you chose to purchase through the provided affiliate link, I will earn a commission.  In addition to this disclosure, I would also like to say “thank you” to those who do chose to purchase through the provided affiliate links. 

The Product That Made Me Feel New Again

 

ARedkinREDKIN Hair Cleansing Cream ABSOLUTELY 100%, restored my hair back to normal!  I am super excited that I can finally wear my hair down again!  It is soft, vibrant, and has volume.  I was so happy about this product, I didn’t even hesitate bragging to all my friends about it. I even called my mom at 10 o’clock at night to tell her the great news about my hair!

It only took one wash to remove the excessive build-up of natural oils and product residue from my scalp.  I must have had a massive amount of build-up on my head, because when I finished washing my hair with this product I felt so much lighter!

The only down side to this product is its slightly unpleasant smell; however, it is not as harsh as it smells.  Some products that smell really bad can be super harsh on the hair and scalp.  Not this product!  I think this product slightly smells, because its not really intended to make your hair smell good like normal shampooing products.  It’s job is to successfully remove residue from your hair.  It has a job to do and it definitely gets the job done. 

But, Is it worth the price though?  In my opinion, yes.  I live on a tight budget and hair products are not included in that budget.  I was in tears when I went to the store looking for another solution to try.  I had been living with oily-greasy hair for a little over 1 year.  I was feeling a little self-conscious and extremely unattractive.  I saved up money to buy, as a last resort, a $90 3-Step Cleansing System that I read online.  I cannot remember the brand, but I do remember staring at it (the price tag) for a very  long time on the shelf.  There isn’t really a specific cleanser section, so I ended up pacing up and down the shampoo aisle for about twenty-minutes looking at different options (stuff I haven’t already tried).  Then I noticed REDKIN.  It was $20.  That is way more than I paid for the other cleansers that I tried and way cheaper than the last resort, the $90 option.  So, I decided to give it a try and fortunately for me, it worked and I love it!

Recommended Hair Washing Method To Successfully Remove Residue Build-up

  1. Brush hair before showering
  2. Wash hair in cold water.  Hot water can stimulate oil production.
  3. Use REDKIN Hair Cleansing Cream on scalp, leave on 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and comb through hair with shower comb.
  5. Dry with towel (not hair-dryer)
  6. Apply leave-in conditioner on ends of hair only.
  7. Allow hair to air-dry, enjoy, and go back to using normal favorite hair products

 

Have you tried this product before, if so, do you love it or hate it?  What do you recommend as an alternative?  Please share your thoughts with us…