A word on S.A.D. (Seasonal Affect Disorder).
The days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder. This time of year can be difficult for many, especially amidst the pandemic. Forced to spend more time inside, we begin to forget the sun’s warmth and winter seems eternal. It is very common to feel sluggish and unmotivated during the colder months, but it is important to recognize when you need a little help.
Seasonal Affect Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is related to the changing of the season, specifically the winter months when the days are gloomier and colder. It has been suggested that a lack of sun exposure interrupts the body's internal clock and serotonin levels (a chemical in the brain that makes you happy). SAD is commonly found in adults 18-30, which makes university students, especially those in colder climates, at a higher risk.
Luckily there are several things you can do other than therapy to keep you motivated and liven your mood this winter.
Lack of sunlight is one of the leading causes of SAD. Being in a poorly lit area can make you feel as though winter is internal. It is important to make sure maximal sunlight is making its way into your living space. You can open the blinds and remove blockades that could be obstructing the natural light from entering. Although natural light is significantly more potent than artificial, investing in an artificial sun lamp can be highly beneficial if you know you are prone to SAD.
Getting outside, even if it is cold, can help liven your mood significantly. The fresh air and the natural outdoor light can help regulate your body’s internal clock.
Especially during a pandemic, it can be difficult to meet up with friends and family, but it is important to keep in touch. Interacting with loved ones can bring a sense of normalcy during such a trying time and make you feel less lonely.
Sticking to a schedule can be difficult, but it can do wonders for your body. Eating and sleeping at regular times can help your body’s hormonal levels and can help you maintain your weight during months where you might be exercising less.
Although exercising can be more difficult during the winter months, especially during a pandemic, it is important to stay active. Simply going on a walk or doing a workout video in your living room can boost your self esteem, lower stress levels, and keep you happier.
Make sure to incorporate things you enjoy into your routine. Whether it is cooking, crafts, or grabbing a cup of coffee from your favorite shop on Noyes, surrounding yourself with good energy can help keep you positive.
It is very important to keep tabs on your mental health, especially during the winter months. Although it can be common to feel unmotivated, be able to recognize when you need help. Stay strong and stay healthy, Evanston! We are here for you!
Alumnus - Northwestern University
Floor Supervisor at Coffee Lab Evanston
Digital Marketing Specialist at Ignitus Digital