Winter Blues

"Perhaps," says Sylvia Boorstein, "these days of less sunlight are opportunities for more contemplative time, more looking deeply to see what can only be seen in the dark."

mainphoto/Dollar Photo Club

Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter. It’s not the coldest time of the year yet, but the earlier sunsets are a sign that cold days are coming, and the calendars on desks are down to the last pages. The year is dying.

These are especially hard days for people whose minds are burdened with the fatigue of depression, the grief of loss, even the relatively mild Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that seems directly related to the amount of daylight. Someone once said to me, “The view out the window looks like the inside of my mind. Hopeless.” Right after Thanksgiving, therapists I know begin saying, “I can’t wait until the holidays are over. Everyone feels worse. It’s such a problem to try to be happy if you’re not.”

So for these darkening days, here are some thoughts about varieties of mind fatigue, how psychotherapy is sometimes helpful, how meditation is sometimes helpful, how medication is sometimes helpful, how patience is always helpful.

How Mindfulness Can Help with Depression

A friend of mine, a woman I’ll call Eve, began mindfulness meditation shortly before I did, twenty-five years ago. Eve is a psychologist, successful at her work. I…