The short sleeved shirts and cool-tech innerwear of summer have finally given way to the scarves and gloves and berets and socks and layers layers layers of winter. With the weather switch now firmly jammed on cold, many JETs, especially those from warmer climates (namely, those from the Southern hemisphere who greeted summer smugly) may be struggling with the change of seasons.

At this time, many may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly (and appropriately) known as SAD. It is important to be aware of the ways that being sad and having SAD can affect your mood, and to take action before it overwhelms. Symptoms of SAD can include not eating, eating too much, not sleeping, sleeping too much, overuse of stimulants such as alcohol or tobacco, being in a constant state of sadness or irritability, lack of energy, and withdrawing from social situations.

Luckily, with the introduction of a few endorphins into your system the symptoms of SAD can be alleviated or even eliminated. Make sure to get enough sleep. Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of greens and fish. Watch how much you drink, or smoke. Exercise and stretch. Make plenty of time for your friends. Try to get outside in the daytime hours for vitamin D. And reach out if you are struggling. There is always help on hand if you need it. The AJET Peer Support Group offers phone counseling from 8PM to 7AM every night, and can be reached on 0120-437-725. You can also contact the CLAIR JETLINE during office hours, 9AM to 5:45PM Monday to Friday on 03-5213-1729.

If you are looking for something to get you out from under the kotatsu and out of the house, from 5 December to 16 December Luminaire will light up Kobe’s Motomachi area. If you lack a significant other to do romantic things with or want to appreciate the glittery spectacle with friends, why not join Hyogo AJET on December 12 to see the lights and gorge on festival food. You can also read more about the history of Luminaire in a fabulously written and incredibly well researched article here.

For those going home for Christmas and the New Year, please enjoy your time with your family and friends, eat, drink, and be merry. For those of you travelling, stay safe, have fun, and remember the sunscreen if you are heading south. Finally, for those staying in Japan, stay warm, get up early on January 1 to climb a mountain and see the sunrise, or visit a temple at midnight to receive blessings for the year ahead. And latch onto an Oshogatsu event if you can. Merry Christmas!

Kylie Pinder