As we enter the season of fall and are preparing for winter, many of you may be feeling more down than normal. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that relates to seasonal changes. It generally starts around the same time every year during the fall, and ends around early spring when it gets lighter out. A few symptoms of SAD include: feeling depressed most of the day almost every day, having low energy, losing interest in activities you usually enjoy, having sleeping problems, having difficulty concentrating, and feeling hopeless, unworthy, or guilty. Although it can feel like there’s not much you can do to cope, here are ten things you can do to keep your mood balanced all year round.
Try to work out 20-30 minutes a day five days a week, whether it be in your dorm, the AWC, or anywhere.
- Get light exposure
You can purchase a light box that you sit in front of to mimic sunshine. Light therapy can help suppress the natural release of melatonin. When it’s sunny out, try to take advantage of the sunshine and go outside.
- Try Aromatherapy
Although candles aren’t allowed in the dorms, you can still try aromatherapy with essential oils. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil drops to your pillow at night may help you sleep.
- Maintain a sleep schedule
Since SAD may impact your sleep habits, try to stick to a sleep schedule to improve the quality of your sleep.
Try to write for at least 10-20 minutes daily. A simple habit of journaling your thoughts and feelings can help negative feelings leave your system.
Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to SAD. If you can, try to take Vitamin D supplements.
- Be productive
Although you may feel less motivated to work or have less interest in activities, it’s still important to be productive, and not just dwell on what you need to do.
- Talk to others
Reach out to your friends and family and talk to them. They’re there to help you in whatever way they can.
- Don’t skip class
There will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed, but it’s important to keep up with classes and not fall behind.
- Consider talking to a doctor
SAD impacts everyone differently. If you feel you need to reach out to professional help, don’t hesitate to ask. The Counseling Center is a free resource that you can use.