The snooze button is my best friend at this time of year. [Honestly, I don’t know why the inventor of the snooze button hasn’t been canonized.] Let me tell you, it takes superhuman effort to drag my butt out of bed when it’s pitch dark outside. It’s occasions like those that truly make me appreciate being self-employed – the luxury of dozing that little bit longer in the morning must not be underestimated.

At this time of year, everything tends to become slightly more difficult. Just doing normal things… errands, organizing stuff. It feels a little bit like moving around underwater. Plus I’m more scattered than usual, and have strange little bouts of anxiety about things that in springtime, for example, wouldn’t cause problems for me.

I’m alert to the signals and I don’t assign them much importance because I know where they come from. They are not a Big Deal but rather minor annoyances caused by a physical reaction to a lack of daylight, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. I respond by doing things like getting plenty of outdoor exercise during daylight hours [ah the luxury of arranging my time as I wish!], making sure I get enough sleep [i.e. by hitting the snooze button many many times in the mornings] and taking vitamins [on occasion I have been known to pop ones spiked with Ginseng].

One thing I have often considered doing but haven’t got around to yet is getting one of those daylight simulator lamps. Why I haven’t done this yet is beyond me… oh all right, here comes a wee confession: Somewhere deep inside I have this really stupid idea that not being able to ride out SAD season without external aids makes me a bit of a wuss. I know I know, it’s sad. SAD!*

EPI’s brother and his wife have one of those lamps and they swear by it. They moved back to Iceland a couple of years ago after spending about 12 years in northern Norway, where there is even less daylight than here in the winter. Up there they dragged themselves through SAD season for several years before they broke down and bought one of those lamps. [Just an aside: up there, as seems to be the case here, the lamps are surprisingly unpopular among the general population. Bizarre, isn’t it? You’d think everyone would have one, but in fact hardly anyone does.] – In any case, after getting the lamp, they felt like they’d got a new lease on life. EPI’s brother would go to work and be all chipper and cheery and his colleagues would look at him like he was insane and plod about their daily work with the same sourpuss demeanour as before.

Icelanders are among the happiest nations in the world, according to something called the World Database of Happiness. Leading on the happiness scale are the Danes, the Swiss and the Maltese, followed closely by the Icelanders and the Irish. Meanwhile, residents of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are reportedly the unhappiest people on earth. The Icelanders keep landing in the top five, so I guess even SAD doesn’t manage to dampen our boundless optimism and the sunshine in our hearts. Bless.

No because today, finally, there was No Wind. Hallelujah! Went out for a run in temps of –3° and didn’t even feel the cold. What a difference a little calm makes. Was all set to get the winter tires put on my car but on hearing that we’re heading for a warm spell decided to hold off a little longer. Those winter tires are a pain in the ass. They have metal studs in them that are illegal in just about every country I know of because they cause small-particle pollution by tearing up the asphalt and make major grooves in the roads. [Not the kind of groovy you want your city to be.] Plus they’re noisy as hell when you’re driving. BUT when there is ice over everything, they’re about the only thing that allow you to feel safe. Temps at the moment are still –3°C and sunrise was at 09.14, sunset at 17.07.

* I can’t get enough of that acronym. It’s so brilliant!