Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
Snow Fatigue Sets in After City Endures Sixth Storm
Friday, January 21, 2011
The ritual is not new to Gary Dawoit. After each storm, he and two colleagues, armed with scrapers and shovels, have the unenviable task of clearing the snow from around three company cars.
"We're digging out again and again," said Dawoit with a laugh, "And yeah, it's getting to wear thin."
If it seems like it's been a particularly snowy winter, that's because it has been. While only four inches fell in Central Park on Friday, the National Weather Service said this sixth storm of season brings the total snowfall to a whopping 36.1 inches — three times the average amount for the period between December and January. So it’s not surprising that some people are feeling what could be called "snow fatigue."
In fact, those feelings are actually normal for this time of year, said Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
"If you’re thinking about the Northeast and given the frequency with which we’ve had snow storms this year, it’s quite a common phenomenon going on right now, especially in the New York area," Rego said.
But depressive symptoms that linger for more than a few days should be considered a warning sign, Rego said.
A severe psychiatric disorder that's more common this time of year is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. It's a sub-type of a disorder called clinical depressive disorder, or depression, and tends to have its onset as the days get shorter.
"A lot of people will get the winter blues as the days get colder and darker," said Rego, "but actually a small percentage go on to develop lingering and severe feelings of depressed mood, which is there nearly everyday for at least a couple of weeks."
People with S.A.D. often have several other severe symptoms such as decreased energy, overeating especially of carbohydrates, trouble with sleep and concentration and increased feelings of worthlessness.
"It's when most of those symptoms occur all together for most of the day that it's reaching a level that requires clinical attention."
For most other people, Rego recommends adopting healthy routines to help combat the winter blues.
"Making sure you have a steady bedtime and rising time, eating healthy meals, continuing to exercise," Rego said.
There are also those who seem immune from snow fatigue or the winter blues. Village resident Linda Diane Polichetti called the snowy weather "magical."
"A lot people think find it annoying, but I love my seasons, you know," said Polichetti. And she's feeling very confident about the prospects of more snow to come.
"I already predicted it," said Polichetti. "I feel like I have a sixth sense. I already know we're going to get three more storms. I know it. I just know it. I love it ... it just puts a smile on my face."