The fight against S.A.D.

Are you feeling down in the dumps? Are you beginning to sleep more, eat more and avoid social contact? If this sounds like you, then you might have the winter blues.

“Many of us just feel a little more blue, funky, or irritated with the changes in the weather, and some basic lifestyle and environmental changes can help with that,” Director of the Cohen Student Health Center Judy Smith, Ph.D. said.

These symptoms may be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). S.A.D. is mainly caused by the shortening of daytime and the lack of sunlight in winter.

So, how do you kick the winter blues out of your life? There are many resources to which you can turn to learn some great tips.

Sophomore Zach Stephens says, “To stay happy during the winter I do a lot of the things I like to do, like listen to music, watch movies, play basketball and hang out with friends.”

Time Magazine’s health section gave readers eight great tips on how to beat the winter blues.

Their suggestions include light therapy, socializing, regular exercise, deep breathing techniques, massage, caffeine, supplements or professional help.

If you need a mood booster, try spending some time outdoors or allow sunlight to soak into your home. Even though it’s chilly, a simple long walk in winter sunlight can be just the right medicine to help give you a boost of energy and live a more positive winter season.

Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress and regain some strength to have a positive winter.

Sophomore Isabella Cardina uses exercise and regulating her sleep as an outlet for her winter blues.

“For me to stay mentally healthy during the winter season, I try and get exercise in at least two times a week, eat three healthy meals and maintain a good sleeping pattern. I think sleep is the most important because we are never getting enough of it,” she said.

Many people tend to avoid socializing and exercising completely in the winter, so force yourself to commit to a certain number of activities, and this can drastically effect how you feel.

Sophomore Caitlin Ewing likes to plan outings with her friends to keep herself occupied during the winter months.

“I like to have friends over for dinner or watch movies just to give myself something to look forward to,” she said.

Like people with other forms of depression, individuals with S.A.D. can benefit from counseling.
During counseling sessions, individuals have the opportunity to process the thoughts, behaviors and emotions that are a part of S.A.D.

The Cohen Student Health Center has a counseling center where you can meet one-on-one with a counselor for free to discuss issues.

If you’re feeling that the winter blues are taking hold of your life, try to implement a few of these tips into your daily life.

You can also visit the Cohen Student Health Center on campus for more advice and information about how to get rid of the winter blues and how to stay mentally healthy.