If you’ve been feeling days are a lot shorter and it seems there’s not enough time to get things done, don’t assume you’re losing your mind. The truth is a lot of people don’t know that, this year, December 22 is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. So, do you have any plans for the Winter Solstice?
Although the Winter Solstice is common for December 21st, this year, it occurs at 12:30 a.m. EST on December 22. It marks the first day of the astronomical winter for the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the time when the sun shines directly overhead at 23.5 degrees south latitude.
According to universetoday.com, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and 23. However, regardless of which of the three days between the mentioned timeframe the Winter Solstice occurs each year, it does mark the official beginning of the winter season.
Universetoday.com explains why the Northern Hemisphere has less sunlight: “Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted approximately 23.5° from a vertical axis”. As a result “as the tilted Earth orbits the Sun during the year, the different hemispheres receive varying amounts of sunlight, as this tilt causes sunlight to strike the surface of Earth at different angles at different times of year.
Since in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice means less sun light, specialists say it is not uncommon to feel depressed. Wichita psychiatrist Dwight St. Clair talks about something called the Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD: “Low energy, low motivation, wanting to sleep more, a tendency to want to eat more, especially carbohydrates…It’s like a bear getting ready for their hibernation”.
While it might sound farfetched or amusing, maybe you should recall what your psychological state has been since September, when SAD is said to begin. And if you do find yourself a little more down than usually, just imagine how people up north feel, during a dark sunless winter.
SAD symptoms include overeating, anxiety, lethargy, depression and loss of libido. And if the symptoms are quite a burden on the sufferer, the fix is simple: sunlight. According to studies, in 85 percent of cases, exposure to an extra one or two hours of bright light a day really changes the situation.