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Charles D. Villard
Charles D. Villard

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Where to Move a Dev's Family while living with Seasonal Affective Disorder?

TL;DR: Suggest a city with a warmer climate that would have a positive effect on someone with Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have SAD, how do you combat its negative effects?

CONTEXT: Living in South Florida is can be really expensive, and when I began teaching myself web development in 2014 to provide for my wife and newborn daughter, I thought I'd be able to make enough with a dev job. Fast-forward to today, I've realized that that's still a ways away. I'm paid to code to full-time, but the costs have skyrocketed over the last four years.

My wife and I have hemmed and hawed about moving to another part of the country, but there's been one mental roadblock that we've hit every time: seasonal affective disorder. My wife was diagnosed with depression when she was younger, and weather can have a huge effect on her energy levels throughout the day. Living in Miami, she's been able to get things done thanks in part to a consistently sunny climate. On any rainy day, though, she can hit a slump really quick.

A mentor recently suggested the possibility of Austin, Texas. While an attractive notion, it's not something I simply want to dive into. Does anyone else here deal with SAD, and if so, where and how? Have you found a particular city or area that's helped combat the effects?

Discussion (4)

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timbutterfield profile image
Tim Butterfield

Another option may be to live full time in an RV. This is made easier with a remote job or changing short-term contracts. I'm a software developer also, have been 100% remote since 2008, and have been full time in our RV since 2013. If you find you do not care for an area, this makes it much easier to move somewhere else. It is just my wife and I in our RV, but some RVs have a bunk room for the kids.

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hkly profile image
hkly

Ever Sunny Sunny San Diego, California! I don't live there, but I vacation there in the winter and it's often sunny and in the 70's. However, the sun sets pretty early in the winters as well. Not sure if your wife is affected by the sun's cycle as well as the weather.

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Vincent Grovestine

I live in Nova Scotia which is approximately the same latitude as Bangor, ME and Portland, OR. I typically notice my energy and mood begin to slip in late January due to mild SAD.

Everyone is different, but what works for me are Vitamin D supplements (as already suggested by @mattlancaster81 ), getting outdoors periodically for fresh air (yes, even when it's uncomfortably cold), and light exercise. I also have a desk lamp with full-spectrum bulbs at the office. Additionally, I try not to schedule stressful projects during the winter months if possible, as I find it more difficult to mentally leave work (thoughts) at work (place).

Given the opportunity, I'd love to be a Canadian "snowbird". The Carolinas or thereabouts would suit me just fine January-March! :)

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mattlancaster81 profile image
Matt Lancaster

I struggle with depression and anxiety, but until the past few years, SAD wasn't a part of my life. This year has gone better for me, and the two changes have been forcing myself to go outside as much as possible, and the other is taking 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily.

Now, has this cured me? No.

Has it helped me? Yes.

There are a lot of fantastic places that have tons of sunshine in the US so look around before making a final decision and while you're at it see if at least the Vitamin D helps a bit.

BTW, I live in Pittsburgh, PA.