Here comes Valentine’s Day…as if we needed another reason to feel sorry for ourselves, another excuse to dig into that tub of ice cream and watch Titanic for the seventeenth time. These winter blues aren’t just from untimely PMS combined with sappy romance movies and too many red greeting cards…they can be linked to seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder, conveniently also called SAD, is a type of depression that typically occurs in the winter months, draining your energy and making you feel moody. The cloudy, short, dark days take a toll on everyone’s energy and mood, even those who don’t receive a full SAD diagnosis. Perk up by following these tips.
R is for Reminisce.
Go back in time. According to a recent study at Open University in England, flipping through old pictures or photo albums can boost your mood. In comparing various activities women find enjoyable, the study found looking at old photos at the top of the list for making people happy. Even better: walk done memory lane with your friends. You’ll surely run into laughter, the best medicine. For a quick pick me up, whip out your phone and scroll through your camera roll. If you can’t enjoy summer, you can at least reminisce about those great summer memories. Start Small. It’s as simple as changing your desktop screensaver once a week. The variety will prevent boredom and you’ll be shocked at how fast time flies once you’ve cycled through three different pictures showing off fields of flowers.
Work it Out (side).
Run outside. Don’t let the cold isolate you on a treadmill in smelly Lilly, where all you can think about as you’re stuck in front of the mirror is how your smudging eyeliner makes you look like a raccoon. There is a lot of cold-weather running gear available, and good news is it’s all going on sale as spring approaches. Stock up. GapFit offers cute, half-zip pullovers in a variety of colors. If you pick a bright color, you’ll not only look great, you’ll feel great, too! Don’t worry if you’re not a runner. DePauw offers plenty of workout classes, free for students. Pilates is great for those who like low-intensity workouts and Indoor Cycling is intense but so worth the endorphins. The group atmosphere motivates you and is a perfect study break to take with friends.
Buy Some Sunshine.
Light therapy is an option for those who are seriously SAD, but it’s expensive and hard to come by without a formal diagnosis. Basically, light therapy consists of exposure to bright light boxes that provide fluorescent lighting. Create your own sunshine by buying high watt, fluorescent light bulbs from Walmart and decorating your room with yellow or orange lampshades. Your room will be so bright and cheery you’ll forget all about how dark and dreary it is outside. Avoid dim lighting (i.e. Roy) if you’re feeling particularly sad one day. Opt to stay in your newly sunny room or switch it up and study at Julian instead. The change of scenery will keep you alert and the better lighting won’t drain what little energy you have to read Beowulf.
You may not be able to buy happiness, but you certainly can buy photo albums, new workout gear, and light bulbs. Just because we’re in the dead of winter, doesn’t mean you have to feel like a zombie. Don’t be SAD! These three tips will tide you over until spring break hits and you’re happily laying out on a beach.
Campbell-Cross, Susan. “C’mon Get Happy.” Shape Jan.-Feb. 2013: 106. Print.