Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ask Kelli: Sick of Winter, Sick of Dating, Sick of Having Picture Taken

Dear Kelli,

It seems that every time winter comes, I feel down. I know about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and I may have it. I do plan to check this out with my doctor but in the meantime, what practical things can I do?


Dear SAD,

For those who don’t know, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly beginning in winter. The symptoms include:

  • Afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Decreased interest in work or other activities
  • Depression that starts in fall or winter
  • Increased appetite with weight gain
  • Increased sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Social withdrawal

Some practical tips to help anyone (with or without SAD) in the winter are:

1) Go outside. Yes, it’s cold and you’ll freeze your tush off but you can layer up. The natural sunlight is great for hormone regulation and producing endorphins. If you do have SAD a doctor may prescribe a light box, which mimics the sun’s rays.

2) Exercise. Yes, you’ve heard it from me before. Now go do it!

3) Enjoy the season. That means for winter, take advantage of skiing, sledging, snow-shoeing, etc.

4) Have a seasonal ritual. For example, in fall rake leaves with your loved ones. In the winter, make hot cocoa from scratch or rent a few movies every Saturday and build a fire.

5) Write down what you do like about winter. The sales? Comfort foods like hot soups or mac-and-cheese? House decorations? A brighter perspective on the season may make it more bearable for you.

6) Be your own Ansel Adams. That means take advantage of winter’s beauty and start snapping photos. Could be a great new hobby.

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

I’m single and absolutely sick of of dating. No more bars. I’m done. Is there hope for me?

Singled Out

Dear Singled Out,

So my first question is: Are you only pursuing dates only one way? (i.e., bars?). Is it time to explore in different areas? Online dating? Sports clubs? Set ups? The point is to try new ways because the way your approaching it isn’t working. So I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and do something different when it comes to dating.

If you can’t even fathom a different way of dating at this point, maybe give it a rest for a while. That’s okay to take a break if you need one. Everyone needs a time-out and a month or two can do wonders.

Finally, sometimes it helps if you surrender the situation. Just say to yourself, “It’s okay I haven’t found someone at this point. I know when the time is right it will happen for me. In the meantime, maybe someone is trying to tell me I need time to learn more about what I want in life.”

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

This sounds silly but I hate having photographs taken of me. I mean, hate it. Now that the holidays are coming I know it’s more time for “photo ops.” Is there anyway I can get out of it?

Picture Not Perfect

Dear Picture Not Perfect,

I validate your dislike of having your picture taken. You’re not alone. These are my thoughts: First, tell your subjects beforehand. You can say something like, “Sandy, I’m so excited to come to dinner. Thanks again for having me. I have to tell you, I’m really uncomfortable with having my picture taken. I know it sounds silly. Is there any one I can bow out of this one this year?” If you don’t feel bold enough to voice your concerns, my second suggestion is to offer to take the pictures at the events.

Now, I don’t want to sound all therapist-y but you might want to explore why you hate being in pictures so much. Is it low self-esteem? Body dysmorphia? Just something you might want to explore, rather than avoid.

All the best,


Kelli Miller, MSW is a therapist, author, and radio personality. Miller was a featured expert for SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 198, the co-host for the TV show Love and Money: The Advice Show, and the advice columnist for Playboy U, and the author of Professor Kelli’s Guide to Finding a Husband. Ask Kelli is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv on Wednesdays.

Kelli welcomes your comments below.  Have a question? You can write to Kelli at advice (at) fastmail (dot) net, via the Ask Kelli Facebook group,,or on Twitter @askkelli..Your name and email address will be kept confidential

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