It Isn't Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For many people, the holiday season is filled with yummy food, family traditions and loved ones. However, for others, the holiday season is just a little bit harder. When fall hits, so does seasonal depression for around 10 million Americans.

What’s commonly known as seasonal depression is actually Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It occurs normally during the fall and winter months and is often triggered by a lack of sunlight. The lack of sunlight can affect your circadian rhythms and cause your serotonin levels to drop, which can lead to sadness, anxiety, loss of interest in regular activities, and extreme fatigue. Seasonal depression can be hard to deal with, but having friends by your side can make it a little bit easier.

So, how can you be there for your friends with seasonal depression?

  1. 1. Do your research

    The first way you can support your friends is by taking the time to do your research on Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have a better understanding of the disease, you will have a better understanding of how to help your friend.

  2. 2. Check up on them

    One of the most important ways you can be there for your friends with SAD is by checking up on them. It’s so important for your friends to know that you are thinking of them and that you are there for them. It's the little things that go a long way, so send that text that says “hey, I’m thinking about you.”  

  3. 3. Ask what you can do for them

    Asking how you can help your friends that are struggling makes a big difference. They may not feel comfortable with asking you for help, but if you ask them first it opens the door for them to accept help. Make sure you follow through if they do end up asking you to do them a favor, so that will they feel comfortable asking for favors again in the future.

  4. 4. Make sure they are getting the help they need

    There are a lot of resources that can help people with seasonal depression, such as therapists and online assistance — many campuses also have various resources. While being a good friend is helpful, nothing replaces professional help.

This time of the year can be tough on a lot of people — whether it’s due to suffering from seasonal depression, facing the holidays without loved ones, or just the gloomy weather. Make sure you are loving more, being kind to others, and supporting those who you know are going through a tough time.

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