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How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

Have the seasons changed around you? Is the sun nowhere to be seen? Do the days seem shorter but at the same time, feel horribly long? Do you find yourself with a lack of energy? Are you oversleeping? Gaining weight? Sad? Feel hopeless? Have a loss of interest in things that once made you incredibly happy? Have thoughts of death and suicide? If you’ve answered yes to a majority of these questions, there may be a chance that you’re suffering from seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

When it comes to being away from home and being on a college campus, dealing with all forms of depression is extremely hard, so please go and talk to the mental health and counseling services that your college provides. In addition to seeking help from a professional, here are some lifestyle changes they may raise your spirits:

Going outside more often and getting plenty of sunlight

Without enough sunlight exposure, a person’s serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder. It is said that having just a little more sunlight in your life can reduce anxiety and depression.

Exercising

Take up some form of exercise. There’s evidence that exercise can help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 minutes every day, even if it’s just walking around your dormitory.

Avoiding drugs and alcohol

Going out to parties and getting drunk, while smoking weed may seem awesome and wonderful, but it’s more harmful than helpful. It’s tempting to want to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to cope with the symptoms of depression, but you’re more vulnerable to negative side effects when the alcohol or drugs wear off.

 

Getting plenty of sleep

It’s challenging trying to find and implement a sleep schedule as a college student, but remember that sleep is an essential and crucial part of our lives. Sleep is extremely important to brain health and is a key component in managing the symptoms of depression. Please try and get at least eight hours of sleep a night.

Practicing relaxation exercises

Relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, and exercise can release endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that relieve pain and are thought to elevate your mood.

It’s really hard going through difficult times alone, so always seek out help and guidance from individuals you trust!

Chisom Okoye is a sophomore Film/TV major, playwright and sociology double minor from Las Vegas, NV. Writing has always been her greatest love, because it allows her to express herself in ways that spoken words can't. The ability to pick up any pencil, broken and charred or shiny and new, and just simply create is gratifying. Her writing interests range from pieces about self love and the art of positivity to book reviews and fiction pieces to controversial topics to even screenplays. When she's not immersed in her world of writing, Chisom enjoys art museums, theatre, as well as musical theatre, and you can always find her listening to her favorite musicians, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stevie Wonder.
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