Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder in the New England Winters

The moment I found out I would be attending college in Boston, my mother bought me the biggest, warmest coat she could find. Coming from Washington, D.C., I thought that I would be somewhat equipped for the occasional snowstorm or 30-degree weather. As much as I tried to prepare for the New England winters, I still fell into a rut the January of my freshman year due to the freezing temperatures and the many weeks of cloudy dark skies. The weather stayed bleak up to and even on my birthday, April 2nd, when the last snowfall of the season fell on Somerville.

Only later did I realize that I, like many other people, may have been suffering from a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, leading to energy loss, mood swings and oversleeping. Entering the winter season this year, I have found several ways to combat seasonal affective disorder.

  1. Exercise

Even though getting out of bed in the morning in the subfreezing temperatures can be challenging, maintaining your normal exercise routine is crucial to combatting any feels of depression. Exercising can also be a good excuse to socialize with friends, which can help you feel less alone in the cold bleak winter days.

  1. Keep up a balanced diet

I found that sticking to my normal diet of 3 meals a day was difficult during the winter. My irregular sleep patterns affected my eating and I began to skip meals, which affected my mood greatly. Nowadays, I make a conscious effort to eat regularly, improving my mood and forcing me to find a more realistic sleep schedule.

  1. Get a SAD light

Light therapy has made the greatest impact on improving my mood and limiting the effects of winter on my health. During the winter months, I try to spend twenty minutes underneath my sun lamp every day. I highly suggest buying a therapy light to anyone who feels even a little bit worn down during the winter months. Here is the link an example of a great therapy light to include in your dorm.

With several more winter months ahead, I hope some of these suggestions help you combat seasonal affective disorder and power through until spring arrives!