Don't Be SAD!

Do you feel happy, sad or somewhere in between this time of year? Does the thought of sunset by 4:30 every day for the next several weeks have you pouring over travel brochures looking for a sunny, warm escape from dark, cold, and wet weather ahead? Maybe you’d rather just pull the covers over your head and not come out until Groundhog Day. Take comfort! You’re not alone! Help is on the way!

It’s official! Daylight savings time is over until March, 2012. Who’s counting the days until it returns? As I sit here tapping away, the clock on my computer reads 7:51. PM. But, my mind and body still think it’s 8:51 PM. which means for the next week I’ll wake up extra early, eat lunch 11:00 and be ready to start dinner at 4:30!  In general, I’ll be discombobulated for the next week until I adjust or succumb, which ever comes first! Does this happen to you too?  Even MAX will put himself to bed early for the next few days.

We can grumble and grown all we want, but that won’t help matters any now will it?  For most people the time change adjustment is a mild one, but for millions of others, it’s truly a SAD ( Seasonal Affect Disorder ) time of year. I didn’t know much about SAD until my handsome Yankee was diagnosed with it a few years ago. We’ve learned first hand that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is triggered by the seasons of the year. The most common type of SAD is called winter-onset depression which is what he has. Symptoms usually begin in late fall or early winter and go away by summer. Winter-onset SAD is more common in northern regions, where the winter season is typically longer and more harsh. Winter-onset SAD is most likely caused by our body’s reaction to the lack of sunlight. Light therapy is one option for treating this type of SAD because increased sunlight can help alleviate symptoms which include:

•A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods

•Weight gain

•A drop in energy level


•A tendency to oversleep

•Difficulty concentrating

•Irritability and anxiety

•Increased sensitivity to social rejection

•Avoidance of social situations and a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy

My poor darlin’ exhibited several of these symptoms except that he lost weight instead of gaining it. Luckily, with the right medication ( an antidepressent ) he has been able to control the symptoms and feels much better today, even this time of year! He’s never experimented with light box therapy because the medication treatment has been so successful, but some people swear by sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes a day. We are grateful that this seasonal condition can be treated successfully with the right course of therapy. Daily exercise and a healthy diet play an important part in his treatment as well. We also read Winter Blues written by Dr. Rosenthals which gave us tremendous insight into SAD.

It wasn’t until I urged him to see his doctor about the way he was feeling that he was finally able to get the help he needed and made the steep, upward climb to feeling himself again. S.A.D. is nothing to fool with sisters! If you think you might be one of the ten percent in this country who experience symptoms of seasonal affect disorder, do yourself ( and your loved ones) a favor and get the help you need. You’ll all feel better!

Seasonal changes and a lack of sunshine aren’t the only cause for feelings of sadness to come boiling to the surface this time of year. Homesickness can bring on a serious case of the winter blues too.


Whether you’re still living in your childhood hometown or city, or you’ve put down roots far away from your loved ones, family is at the center of everyone’s thoughts this time of year. These days it’s so easy to keep in touch with Face Book, Skype, Blogging, Email, and Texting the miles between loved ones are shrinking by the second. Having instant communication at the touch of a fingertip goes a long way toward easing homesickness. Another way to stay close to your far aways is to make a…





( This branch had fallen to the ground with the nest still intact )
No expensive 3-D GLASSES needed and after you’ve created one with your family you can snap pictures of it and share it with your loved ones on face book!  Plus, you’ll have the enjoyment of seeing them every day bringing you the comfort of home you so sorely miss.





It was after moving away from my lifelong home ( at age 40 ) to lovely New England when I first experienced being homesick beyond what I had felt as a child on my first sleep over away from home.  It was odd how I could love my new home so much while at the same time ache for my old one. The homesickness bug always hit me hardest in October and November as my birthday and the holidays grew nearer.



( Bittersweet Berries )

My emotions were in a constant tangle between reminiscing about past and precious holidays with loved ones out West and creating new traditions with family and friends here in the East. 





 I had to do something to chase away the homesick blues and busy hands always work like magic for me. I decided to make a family treeso I could have the best of both worlds right here at home.



  I searched our backyard for some branches to my liking and chose the photos I would use for my mini collages to hang on my tree.






My baby brother and our daughter goofing around.





 My other brother and family .



Our family the first fall we lived in New England.



 Our Leaf Faeires






Playing dress up with Grammy Joy!



Here’s what you’ll need to complete YOUR FAMILY tree!



    • access to a scanner, copier and printer


    • white printer paper


    • background paper for your photos.


    • * I chose scrap booking paper in an earthy autumnal color pallet. Be as creative and colorful as you like. Hand made papers would be interesting too!


    • decorative edge scissors for cutting out your papers and photos.


    • glue stick or double stick stickers for photos used in scrap booking.


    • embellishments: text, quotes, etc. for your mini collages.


    • *I chose some letters, sayings, and words that spoke to me about family.


    • a hole punch to punch a hole at the top of your mini collage for your tie to go through.


    • jute, string, suede, ribbon etc for your tie.








    • Photo copy your photos on plane printer paper. I chose to use color but you could do black and white too.


    • cut your back ground papers and photos to the size you want them to be… Any shape goes!




    • glue your photo and embellishments to your back ground paper.


    • punch hole in the top of your mini collage


    • string your tie through the hole and hang it on your tree!




* your elementary aged children can help create with you and they’ll love seeing photos of their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and themselves dangling from YOUR family tree.




* All supplies for this project can easily be found at your local craft store and in your own backyard.


Feeling homesick never really goes away, but the effects of it do lesson as time goes by. So, don’t be SAD farmgirls! Keep your heads, hands and hearts busy and if that doesn’t work, here’s a big ole’ farmgirl hug for ya!

If you STILL feel SAD, check out Max’s cute little Corgi bum!

North, South, East or West, no matter where you’ve built your nest, may you find sunshine, laughter and all the rest!

  1. Country Gal says:

    I feel the same about the time change it really throws me for a loop. I do suffer from S A D ! I am a sunshine lover but I dont go away for it to sunny destination I love my country home and do the best I can and muddle through it ! Love your post and photos, I didnt realise you had this blog as well. Have a wonderful day !

    Well, thanks for coming by Country Gal! I guess it’s a litttle like jet lag without leaving the house!  Yep, I’ve been writing here since Feburary and loving it. I’ve been to your country cove ( in blog land ) and it would be hard to leave ! Deb

  2. Brenda says:

    Same here. Tired this week, out of sorts and I have a cold from who know where. I am blaming it on the time change. Today is hubs and my anniversary. He bought me a Keurig so I am having an afternoon cup of coffee to hopefully perk me up. I moved to Michigan from Indiana when I was just 19 years old. Left all my family behind and moved with a not so great husband, did not know that then though. I have been here since, but with a much more wonderful husband. It is about a 7 hour trip to go visit my family, I do not drive it as often as I use to and I do miss them often. Thanks for the wonderful crafty idea!

    Happy Anniversery Brenda and hubs too! Glad you finally got a good one! Thanks for your note today! Deb

  3. Julia says:

    Such lovely pictures. They made my day!
    Though never diagnosed, I think my hubby suffered from that. Having been a southern boy, he never adjusted to the weather of the Pacific NW.

    Hi Julia! Glad I got a smile out of ya! sorry to hear about your hubby’s SAD. It’s not easy making the transition from so much sunshine to much less. Thanks so much for your note today! Deb

  4. Shery says:

    Who could be droopy after all that?! I so want to find some Bittersweet soon. Love your corgi’s furry bloomers :o) While I don’t like it getting dark sooner, I do like that it is light sooner. Just part of the seasonal changes. Love the article…and all the pics!

    Shery, Bittersweet grows in abuncance here but, is not a favorite of many because it really takes over and causes problems especially if it’s close to the house, but this batch  grows wild at the beach. We look forward to it every year. I use it inside for decorating but never out…! It’s so pretty as a wreath though. I like the lighter mornings too, but I feel like I’ve been up the whole day by noon! Thanks for payin’ me a visit today! Bum Bump, Deb

  5. Jan says:

    Wow! I have been struggling for a couple of weeks and though I am very familiar with SAD, I just kept thinking that it was something else. The fall always makes me miss my folks, even though I am a very mature (?) woman…I am so happy puttering about in the sun in the garden and doing creative projects and then ‘BAM!’ the warm sunny days are gone and I look around and get overwhelmed with putting my outdoor work to bed…
    For now, I am doing a structured exercise routine two days a week with a trainer, and every Wednesday is my yoga class. I ALWAYS feel wonderful after raising my heart rate. I also take lots of vitamin D3 and fish oil, which I swear is a mood enhancer!! Last night made a healthy squash soup!
    Thank you for reminding me that I am normal (!?!?)…Loved your pictures and projects.

    My dear Jan, Of course you’re normal! ( smile ). Sounds like you are doing the right thing by taking good care of YOU! I had to start a prescription vitamin D in the spring. I could not get out of my own way! I should have included that in my entry..FARMGIRLS… IF YOU’RE DROOPIN’ HAVE YOUR D LEVELS CHECKED! It’s made a world of difference. I can stay awake the WHOLE DAY NOW!

    As always, thanks so much for your note Jan. Love hearing from you! Deb

  6. Heidi says:

    Dear Deb,
    Thank you for this post. I am pretty sure my hubby has SAD too. A decade ago we moved to the foggy Northern California coastal town of Crescent City where we didn’t see the sun for 7 months straight. (It was a record) He was a bear to live with and we were all miserable. A few years later we came back home to sunny Southern California and his symptoms improved dramatically. However, he does get the symptoms each Fall though much less severe than before. I used to call it Cabin Fever. He gets irritable, no activity pleases him, he’s anxious, and grouchy etc. I am going to talk to him and see if he’s ready to deal with it. I am so happy your hubby and family are doing well.

    Hi Heidi! You’re welcome 🙂 My husband suffered from much more mild symptoms when we were in Nevada, even so, Septmeber was always tough on him. We’ve learned as we age our bodies don’t make as much seratonin and combined with less ‘ natural daylight " it’s not a healthy combination! Keep us posted on his progress. Tell him, its’ very common and with the slightest bit of medication therapy/and or lights, diet etc.. he will be feeling so much better… I’m happy to hear you are in California… that helps! Thanks for visiting with me here today! Loved it! Deb

    Oh, been to Cresent City.. pretty, but gray! ( kind of like here ) lol!

  7. HI Deb! Great article. I have experienced various symptoms of SAD over the years, but mostly it causes insomnia for me. Starting this time of year the ‘witching hour’ is always about 3 a.m. and by late afternoon I am dragging and need a power nap! I find that consistent exercise helps a lot, even though I never feel like doing it this time of year. But making myself stick to a physical routine like a daily walk is worth it, although takes more effort on my part. I have come to enjoy the ‘dark days’ by thinking of them instead as ‘safe’ and ‘comforting’, almost like going into hibernation mode. Its a good time to do cozy projects in front of the woodstove, such as knitting and reading … things I would almost feel guilty doing on warm sunny days when I want to be outside. I love your tree idea … such nice scrapbooking-type ornaments you made of your family. My family is all "away" too, and I should do something like that to put a smile on my face when I walk by … You are right though, that modern communication methods have definitely shrunk the miles between us all. Thanks once again for a really interesting and uplifting article. –cathi

    Hi Cathi!

    Thanks so much! I really need to get off my rear and add the exercise into my daily routine! Like you, I have begun to embrace winter for going into  creative hibernation mode. It’s nice to switch gears, slow down and do different things and let new ideas germinate until spring! Glad you enjoyed!  Deb

  8. Donna Coburn says:

    I feel bad for all of you that suffer from SAD. I’ve never experienced such a thing. I love the seasonal changes. Each season is an adventure for me. The coming of fall & winter is exciting. It’s a break from the busy summer, a time to settle back keep the wood fires going, read, do puzzles, and work on my family geneaology. The holidays are family time, even tho we’ve lost many members over the years, but is also a time for remembrance. My time to try new soups, sliding with grandchildren. I wish there was a way to help everyone enjoy the season changes theway I do. I’d hate to do without them. Love your beach stories. I live in Maine. And luckily, I’m a few hours from the really big mountains, and in the middle of smaller ones, and one hour from the ocean….and I LOVE it!!!

    Dear Donna, Thanks for empathizing with the SAD sufferer’s. Like you, I adore Fall and feel as if I’ve been give an extra shot of spinach juice or something to that effect when it arrives.  Our loved ones with SAD need love, patience, support and the right treatment program then everyone can go back to being happy and healthy! Sounds as if you have a good grasp on what Fall and Winter are meant for! Lucky you to be so close to mountains and the beach… Thanks so much for reading today! Deb

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Great article but the true highlight, of course, is Max’s cute little corgi bum. Give him a little love spank for me!

    Will do Elizebeth! Thanks < grin ) Deb

  10. Victoria says:

    Ok…I’m gonna break away from the crowd and comment on Max’s cute little heinie. Seeing that made me long for my precious, tiny (five pound) Jack Russell baby girl that I lost this past June. She left me with a broken heart that will never mend. Midge had short, little legs, just like your Max and so many memories and tears came flooding back when I saw that picture. I was blessed to have her for 13 years and can’t wait to be reunited…..sorry…need to run and grab a tissue!!!!!

    Oh, Victoria! I’m so sorry to hear that your lost your baby girl so recently… Hugs!

    Our animals add so much to our lives don’t they? He does have the cutest heinie ever though doesn’t he? LOL!  I’ll let him know you thought so! Thanks for your note and for reading! Deb

  11. gypsy farmgirl says:

    Hi Debbie and everybody!!!

    I just signed up yesterday and I’m searching the website to see where I might settle in..I consider myself a beach farmgirl since I grew up in south Florida.

    Tropical living was definitely for me. I moved "north" to Orlando (LOL) that was north enough for me..but since then…. I got married and the gypsy living began:

    We’ve lived in VA, NC, AL, TX, NV and now we’re in OH.

    Icy, snowy winters are a treat for me since I grew up where 70 was "sweater weather"…. Happy to be where I am…but my soul still yearns for the salt water…

    Enjoyed your article, photos and the 3-D family tree.

    Welcome Gypsy Farmgirl! Glad you are here… You really get around! LOL

    Best to you in Ohio! Thanks for reading today! Deb

  12. joy says:

    Very thoughtful of you to share this information~ I do feel like hybernating and staying wrapped up in quilts… but mine isn’t S.A.D…. or even just plain old "sad"… mine is more of an "enjoyable" peaceful snuggle-up cozy feel :)I like slowing down and having more of a quiet (and sometimes more "secluded") exsistance for awhile. I guess I’m not the "norm"! 😀 But I’m glad there’s help for those who don’t take it very well. I re4ally enjoy reading your blogs*

    Hi JOY! ,

    Sounds like you’ve got the right idea for this time of year! Thanks so much for coming by and leaving us a note today! Deb

  13. Pam deMarrais says:

    Hey Debbie. It is interesting that your article is about being homesick this time of year. Your photos reinforced my longing for home…you see, I was born in Plymouth MA. I spent lots of days and evenings at Duxbury Beach, and had many a drive over the Powder Point Bridge. [I understand that it is no longer drivable.] I miss New England so much this time of year, and I look forward to your year round stories about living at the beach.
    By the way, my home has been Tennessee since 1993, at the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. It has it’s own beauty, and I feel blessed to live here with my kids and grand kids, surrounded by bluegrass music and the mountains.

    Dear Pam, So, we are beach sisters? How cool is that? And, you recognize the bridge too? Powder Point Bridge is very much drivable…It gets repaired as needed and over the last two years, sani huts and new signs have been placed all along Duxbury Beach Road. I love the mountains too as I grew up in the high desert  of Northern Nevada just less than an hour from Lake Tahoe and many other recreational lakes and campgrounds. We can’t live in both places at once, but we can carry them in our hearts when we are away! So nice of you to leave a note today and I  do hope your homesickness subsides soon! Do you come back to the area very often? Deb

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