Why does Winter make me so SAD?

In the coming weeks when it is supposed to be getting warmer and the sun should be shining, it is easy to feel depressed when there are still numerous days that are cloud filled. But why is it that in the winter months, when your expectations are lower, you still feel sad? It is the result of the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (accurately termed SAD). 

SAD is a medical condition that, according to Health Guide, affects 1-2% of the population; however, many people are affected by a milder form. Feeling tired all the time, gaining weight, feeling hopeless, and stressed are a few of the symptoms. This is the result of a decrease in serotonin production, an increase in melatonin production and decreased vitamin D levels. 

Before coming to university, I never experienced the winter blues before, but walking from class to class outside all day makes you notice the weather more. Sure, it is nice when the sun is shining, but I started to notice physical reactions depending on the weather. If there were a few days in a row without any sun, I never wanted to get out of my bed, and I could feel myself becoming more and more stressed and irritable. If the sun was shining, it was crazy how easy it was for me to jump out of bed, and I would be in a good mood all day. I remember thinking, “Is the winter season really affecting me that much?” The answer is yes, and it’s completely normal. 

Assuming that everyone would rather stay their happy summer selves, there are a few things that you can do to be prepared for next winter. The first being that if you are experiencing severe symptoms, it is important to see a doctor where they may prescribe light therapy. For milder symptoms try getting daily physical activity, eating healthier, taking vitamin D supplements, and talking to friends and family. And finally, when the sun is shining, get out there and soak it up!