Riga - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Do not underestimate the darkness in winter. November to February there is limited light, and even when it is daytime there tends to be clouds and/or snow. SAD lamps, and schedule a break to fly out to southern Europe during that time. - Mar 2022

Winter is long, cold, and dark. SAD is a real thing here. Best advice, save up leave days for trips south. Barring that, be sure to get outside during the work day, use your SAD lamps, and avoid the temptation to hibernate. - Jul 2017

Yes - SAD is a very real issue here, and is, for me, the most difficult thing about this post. Owing to Latvia's high latitude, the winter months are very dark, with only about 6 hours of cloudy daylight from mid-December to mid-January. I did not realize how difficult that would be until I experienced it. "Happy lamps" are available at the Embassy, though it may not hurt to buy an extra one. Vitamin D levels also tend to drop dramatically during the winter months, so taking a supplement is a good idea. (On the bright side, the summer months offer extra long periods of daylight.) - Sep 2016

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