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Sunset over the National Arts Centre (Ottawa,ON)
Sunset over the National Arts Centre (Ottawa,ON)
Original photo by Stephanie Reed
Mental Health

Winter is Here: How to Deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of the year again. The sun is setting early, the weather is cold, we’re starting a new semester, and, if you’re anything like me, your mental health is slowly going down the drain. Once the sun goes down I think my day is over and I’m constantly feeling one thing: UNMOTIVATED! But, this does last a good portion of the year, so how do we deal with it? 

Get That Vitamin D

As we are getting fewer and fewer hours of sunlight, it is so important to be in the sun and absorb its vitamin when you can; whether that be on your way to class, going for a walk, or just opening the blinds/windows in your room. But what if the sun doesn’t come out for days or you can’t manage to go outside when it is sunny? One new creation I am in love with is a sunlight lamp, I just purchased mine on Amazon a few weeks ago for only $20! Using this is called light therapy because the lamp mimics natural outdoor light. Based on what lamp you have, there is a recommended amount of time you should use it per day, usually, it is for twenty to thirty minutes. The best time to do it is in the morning so you can use this while you get ready for your day! I’ve already been feeling more motivated and productive while using this and it’s not for everyone but it won’t hurt giving it a try! If this isn’t for you, you can always get vitamin D from supplements. Take a multivitamin that includes it or take one specifically for D, personally I take both.

Disclaimer: Now, I am not AT ALL a medical professional, this is just what works for me! 

Get Those Feelings Out 

The next best way to deal with seasonal affective disorder is to just get your feelings out in the open. I know this is so beyond cliche but it really is so helpful. I’m sure some of you will be happy to hear that getting your feelings out does NOT mean you have to talk to someone. Journaling is always an option; you could just write before you go to bed or when you wake up, or you could buy a guided journal if you like more of a structure. If you are more of a talker then you have a lot of options. You don’t have to talk to a professional, it can be a friend or family member or a random person on the internet, anyone who is available works! But if you do want to talk to a professional there are counseling services available here at Illinois State (linked here!). I’ve come to realize that recognizing how you feel and putting a name to the emotions you feel is a huge step in the process of coping. 

I know these winter months can be hard but you can get through it, I’ll be right here with you!

Take care, 

Olivia Pribyl <3

Olivia Pribyl

Illinois State '24

Hi there! My name is Olivia Pribyl and I am a Sophomore at Illinois State University. I am a Special Education major but also aspire to be a social worker! During my free time I love thrifting, going out for coffee, and just being outside! I'm so excited to be a part of Her Campus to share my thoughts and advice with you guys! Follow my socials: Instagram: @ pribyl.olivia Facebook: @ Olivia Pribyl Tiktok: @ roliepolie.oli
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