Seasonal Affective Disorder - Dealing With The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder - Dealing With The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter blues, depression

It’s hard to believe, but we’re officially past the halfway point of the winter season. We’re over the hump, as they say. Spring is just six weeks away! (No thanks to you, Punxsutawney Phil!)


For those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), however, six weeks can seem more like six years. 


SAD is a form of depression that strikes during the fall and winter seasons and is brought upon by the shorter days and lack of sunlight. Studies show that as many as one in six people suffer from the disorder. Symptoms include feeling lethargic, needing more sleep, lack of focus, and an increased appetite. 


For students, SAD can have a direct negative impact on your grades, as you find yourself unmotivated, unfocused, and just feeling plain lousy. Fortunately there are a number of ways you can treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and feel healthy and energized all winter long.


Lighten up

Literally. One of the main causes of SAD is a lack of natural sunlight, which boosts levels of the mood-regulating brain chemical serotonin. That’s why it’s important to get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight every single day. If possible, sit near a window while you’re studying. Go for a short walk at lunch when the sun’s at it’s highest point. You may also want to try a light therapy box or a dawn simulator. There are lots of great options online.


Get moving

Sure, you may feel like crawling under your covers and hibernating until spring, but one of the best ways to deal with SAD is through exercise. Go for a walk or a jog. Organize a game of flag-football. Do yoga. Have a snowball fight. Just get out and get moving! If it’s too cold to brave the elements, hit the gym. Spend some time on the treadmill or stationary bike. Lift some weights. The key is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Not only will you feel better, you’ll be healthier, too.


Laugh it off

SAD can be a serious condition and one you shouldn’t take lightly. That said, something as simple as laughing more can help to boost your serotonin levels and get you feeling better. Spend time with friends who make you laugh. Watch a funny movie in your dorm. Just be plain silly. Like the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.


Talk to your doctor

Getting more sunlight, exercising, and laughing more can definitely help you deal with SAD. But sometimes even these things aren’t enough. That’s why it’s always best to visit your school health office or talk to your family doctor who may prescribe a vitamin D supplement, prescription, or an over-the-counter drug, depending on your particular situation. It may be that the depression you’re experiencing is more serious than SAD and requires the help of a mental health professional. That’s why it’s always best to check with your doctor first. 


Don’t let the winter blues get you down and affect your performance in school. Understand and recognize the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder so you can take the proper measures to treat and deal with it effectively. ~




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