Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression related to the changing of the seasons. Sometimes known as winter depression, seasonal affective disorder includes symptoms such as oversleeping, appetite change, weight gain or low energy. With reduced levels of sunlight, your biological clock becomes disrupted resulting in feelings of depression. If you experience low mood during the fall or winter, you may wish to seek out a few of the following resources.
If the winter has you feeling down, try talking to a counselor at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS is a free resource for currently enrolled U-M students. A counselor may be a good way to talk through your feelings while identifying ways to cope with the seasonal changes.
Light therapy is another tactic for reducing fatigue and alleviating depression. Light therapy uses a special light that mimics natural outdoor light, which positively impacts the brain chemicals that are linked to your mood. Simply sit 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. On campus, you can use a light box at the CAPS Wellness Zone, Pierpont Commons or Shapiro Undergraduate Library.
Aside from these resources, certain lifestyle changes and home remedies can be implemented to boost your mood and keep you feeling happy and healthy during the winter. Staying active is a good way to reduce the symptoms of SAD. Additionally, both music and art therapy can be used to relax and alleviate feelings of depression. Another simple suggestion is making your home sunnier or brighter. Try opening the blinds or sitting closer to windows while it is still light out.
Contributed by Mikaela Grudzien, –Neighborhood Ambassador