As the days get longer and greyer and colder, I can feel my mood mimicking the weather. I grew up in Texas, so before moving to Michigan in 8th grade I had no experience with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). For those of you who don’t already know, S.A.D, The National Institute of Mental Health defines it as “ a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. It is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern.” Even if it’s not something you’ve experienced before, knowing the symptoms and treatments can be really key to getting you and your pals through the winter semester. S.A.D is four times more likely to occur in women than in men, so let’s make sure we take care of ourselves!
Many people who don’t suffer from S.A.D take vitamin D in the winter months anyway. The lack of sunlight can get to people more than you realize, so temporary supplements can help balance out the lack of sunlight.
2. Therapy Lamp
Speaking of lack of sunlight, certain bulbs can actually help mimic the light and warmth of the sun. Sitting in front of a light therapy lamp for only 20 minutes can drastically improve your mood! This one on Amazon has great reviews and is only 40 dollars. Consider going in with your friends on one!
It may seem silly, but singing actually releases endorphins, the hormone in our brain that makes us feel good. Just putting on your favorite song and singing along while you shower, or making a playlist of your favorite songs for when you feel down can help! The University of Sydney did a study about the effects of singing in groups, saying “ singing can alter mood immediately after participation in a short singing session…These results suggest that a longer and more vigorous singing session is needed to obtain additional benefits of singing over listening.” Have a musical night with your friends! I mean, who can resist being happy when singing Mama Mia?
Similar to singing, exercise has been shown to release endorphins and improve sleep!
5. Talk it Out
Call your mom, your grandma, your best friend, whoever! Telling loved ones how your feeling is never a sign of weakness. Making excuses to spend time with loved ones ( Mama Mia Sing along, exercising together) can really help you feel less isolated. Talking about your feelings, even if they aren’t positive ones, is infinitely better than keeping it all inside. Most importantly I’d like to stress that if you’re feeling really hopeless, see a doctor! There are so many ways to get you on track of feeling healthy.
Please note, that The New School health services provides counseling and other services such as mindfulness 1-on-1 sessions to also help with anxiety or if you just need someone to talk to!