Beyond the Diag - Off Campus Housing

SAD Snowman

One contributor to lack of motivation and productivity during the winter months is SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is related to the changing of the seasons. Sometimes known as winter depression, seasonal affective disorder includes symptom like oversleeping, appetite change, weight gain or low energy. With reduced levels of sunlight, your biological clock becomes disrupted resulting in feelings of depression. Reduced sunlight can also cause a drop in the neurotransmitters that contribute to mood and sleep patterns, serotonin and melatonin.


During the winter, it is normal to have days when you don’t feel your best, but if you feel down for days at a time consider seeing a doctor. A doctor may conduct an evaluation and prescribe medication, but there are also other ways for people (including those without a SAD diagnosis) to elevate their mood and reduce fatigue.


A common method used to increase mood and alleviate fatigue is light therapy. Light therapy uses a special light that mimics natural outdoor light which positively impacts the brain chemicals linked to mood. Simply sit a in front of the light in the morning or throughout the day for 15 minutes to reap the benefits. Consider consulting a doctor before purchasing a light to ensure this is the best method for you. Additionally, Mind-Body connections may help you cope with moody feelings and fatigue. Some simple techniques to try could be yoga/meditation, or music/art therapy. These techniques seek to relax and engage to help alleviate feelings of anxiety or stress.


Outside of these treatments, certain lifestyle changes and home remedies can be implemented to keep you feeling happy and healthy during the winter. One simple fix is making your home sunnier or brighter. Try opening the blinds or sitting closer to the windows while it is still light out. Additionally, going outside is another lifestyle change that could impact your mood positively. Even during cold days, spending time outside in the sun can make you feel better.

 

Finally, regular exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety. Simply feeling more fit may lift your mood too.


Remember, your health and happiness are important. Be sure to take advantage of the resources available on campus such as UHS, Wolverine Wellness, and CAPS.