Combating Seasonal Depression this Holiday Season

With the first snow still coating the grass, the holiday spirit is evident throughout campus. In the aftermath of the snowball fight, with snowmen watching from all corners of the quads, winter still has that magical quality. The trees are glittering and our Instagrams are full of seasonal dome pics. But what happens when the skies fade to a permanent grey and the winter never seems to end? Seasonal depression hits hard and fast in the long months, but thankfully there are many measures you can take to restore that festive mood. 

The holiday season is usually characterized by family, food and fun. Unfortunately, for most college students, the holiday season is also filled with finals and freezing temperatures. Instead of sledding and drinking hot chocolate, more students are stuck spending late nights in the library cramming for those last chance opportunities to raise their grades. So, it's no wonder that some of us get a bit moody this time of year. For some it can be quite serious. “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody” (Mayo Clinic). But don’t worry, a few changes in your lifestyle will have you belting Christmas songs at the top of your lungs in no time. 

Take a Break.

With all of the windows shut, dorm rooms can get particularly stuffy during the winter months. Wake up your mind with a little fresh air and fun. Build a snowman. Go for a walk. Take more pictures of the dome. You’ll make memories while helping your body combat its sunlight deficiency. 

Decorate your Room.

Nothing says Christmas like hanging twinkle lights and making paper snowflakes. Take your dorm room to a new level with seasonal decorations. Want to take your decorating skills to the next level? Decorate the walls of your section hallway. Go ahead, cover every blank surface with ornaments. You’ll be expressing creativity and adding color to your life- two remedies for seasonal blues. 

Enjoy a seasonal beverage with a friend.

Hot chocolate is a cure for anything. It might not be scientifically proven, but the winter months don’t seem so bad with a hot drink in your hand. Grab a friend and head to your local coffee place. Try a new seasonal drink and enjoy some great conversation.

Try a heat lamp.The biggest reason we suffer from seasonal depression stems from a lack of sunlight, which results in the brain producing more melatonin, making us sleepy and moody. Since the permacloud prevents any natural absorbance of sunlight, we have to find artificial methods of obtaining its crucial nutrients. Lucky for us, the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being has a heat lamp for student use. Stop by the second floor of St. Liam’s to check it out!

Don’t spend the holiday season struggling with seasonal depression. About 20% of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and good number of other people suffer from general winter moodiness. So make a conscious effort to motivate yourself, grab some friends, and have an excellent end to your semester.Always remember, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

HCND XOXO

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