By Dalton Carver
News and Opinion editor
As the weather continues to remain cold and dreary, all of our views on the world, aside from our warm bed, may become a tad bit depressed. However, the issue may be deeper than many believe. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the winter blues, is a type of depression that only occurs during certain times of the year, such as winter, where sunlight is scarcer. However, there are rare occasions when the disorder occurs during the sunlight-filled season of summer.
Some of the symptoms include less ability and energy to concentrate, loss of interest in work or other activities, and sluggish movement. Surprisingly, another of the major symptoms which many college students will be able to relate to, is too much sleep.
SAD could impact your life many ways, but it could be especially dangerous while attending college. You may have a paper due in a week, but if you are so depressed that you feel no motivation to write it, it could devastate your grade and grade point average. If you are too busy sleeping off your SAD, you could miss class or practice. If you happen to go to class, you may take dreadful notes due to your loss of interest in work.
Unfortunately, SAD is not something you can test for. Your physician can diagnose you with your description of symptoms, but no examination will prove you have the disorder. However, it is something to be concerned about, especially if you want to find success in college.
It may be difficult to treat something you’re not sure you actually have, but there are some good tips for keeping your life warm and sunny, even when the sun goes down at six in the evening each day. Antidepressants are always an option, as well talking through what is making you feel so low. Getting enough, but not too much, sleep is a good way to be productive, while also feeling rested each morning. Being active and exercising can make you feel good about yourself, resulting in a quelling of your winter blues. If your depression continues to get worse, talk to a close companion or a therapist about your problems. Support groups are always a good option as well.
A more creative way of helping yourself is light therapy. When you wake up, spend about half an hour near a light box. This action mimics sunrise, and may bring your spirits back up in about three to four weeks.
College is very important, not to mention too expensive, for a student to be unproductive during the winter. If you start feeling the winter blues, bring some sunshine back into your life with one or more of these tips. Remember, winter doesn’t last forever, but your school results from SAD will.
Dalton Carver is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @dalty_james.