Got the winter blues? The cold air nipping at one’s nose makes it easier to cling tighter to an afghan on the sofa rather than trek outside to run errands.
Seasonal depression is extremely common during the winter months. Once fall ends, the shock of the cold weather changes the routine of many people.
This may result in a major impact on a person’s health, motivation and inevitably cause a decrease in overall happiness.
Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is not a disease that was made up by a lazy college student because he/she accidentally missed class on a bitter January morning. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds, and most victims do not know how to combat it.
According to researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health, seasonal depression is primarily due to sun deprivation. When depressed, one’s first instinct is to lock himself or herself away from the world.
Being cooped up in a dark apartment will not solve anything. Getting outside is the first step toward a brighter day, literally.
Ryan Struppa, a senior at ISU, agrees that the main cause of seasonal depression is the lack of fresh air and sunlight one is used to having after the seasons change.
He thinks extra outdoor time would be beneficial to keep students’ spirits up, and could perhaps even be encouraged more by the university.
“It would help if there were more school sponsored activities to do during the winter. I feel like there are plenty of activities going on during the other seasons, but not enough during the winter,” Struppa said.
Maybe if there were outdoor winter sports, such as intramural football teams, some students would be motivated to spend more time outdoors and be more active. A sport may be the one activity needed to encourage a student with seasonal depression to get out of bed in the morning, excited for the day.
Since getting a head start on the day may not sound the most appealing to someone who suffers from depression, motivation is a key step to becoming more active.
However, it is difficult to muster up motivation alone. The positive vibes and company of friends will not only help trigger a more upbeat lifestyle, but it may encourage a student to become more outgoing.
As an exercise science major, Struppa is an advocate for staying healthy and fit. It is no surprise that he believes exercise could help stimulate a more positive attitude.
He suggests students go to the gym habitually.
“It helps release stress,” Struppa said.
Stress and anxiety levels are high in college, and they are often leading components in depression.
Exercise or other calming activities, such as writing, coloring or talking with a loved one, may help ease these conditions.
Seasonal depression is a disorder that can take a serious toll on the body and mind of an individual.
However, with determination and inspiration from the right activities, it is possible for one to achieve the motivation to become a happier and healthier self before spring arrives.