Dec. 12, 2018

How Not To Go Insane in the Winter

Everyone’s energy levels get depleted during the winter. But parents with low batteries also have to deal with cranky kids who’ve watched way too many YouTube videos and who probably should have gotten outside but it’s 4:35 pm and dark as deep space.

As the days get shorter, and colder, and darker, our listener Tamar suggested we do an episode on “how not to go insane when you can’t go outside.” (If anyone has any ideas for her, please reach out.)

Seriously, our energy levels are especially depleted during the winter. It’s science: our bodies get less vitamin D, produce more melatonin (which encourages sleep) and less serotonin (which fights depression). No wonder we all want to put on the fuzzy pants, get under the covers, and call it a day.

But we’re parents. Which means that while our own batteries are totally run down, we also have to deal with cranky kids who’ve watched way too many YouTube videos today and we should have gotten them outside but it’s 4:35 pm and it’s as dark as deep space out there and never has bedtime seemed so far away.

In this episode we discuss:


 the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder— and how to tell if our kids have it too

the “exercise effect,” and why we resist exercise just when we need it the most

why fresh air is actually a thing

how to keep our kids busy on long days indoors with “theme days” and other new approaches to familiar things

how to tell if you’re *in* or *out* of Daylight Savings Time (just stop and think: has daylight been saved? If it’s dark at 4:30, then no, it hasn’t… and therefore you are not in Daylight Savings Time.)

And here’s links to some research and other things discussed in this episode: Winter Blues – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression

Laura T. Coffey for Today: Batty from being cooped up with kids? Here are 9 great cures for cabin fever

Valerie Williams for Mommyish: 10 Things Only Parents With The Winter Blues Will Understand

Sasa Woodruff for NPR: A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty

Kirsten Weir for the American Psychological Association: The Exercise Effect

Pennsylvania Department of Health: Cold Weather Outdoor Play Boosts Immune System

Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study


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