Do you find yourself feeling “off” during the winter months? Are you taking naps more often, or feel down for no particular reason?
You aren’t alone. 20% of all Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to psychiatry.org, SAD presents symptoms very similar to those of depression, but tends to only occur in the winter months. Shorter days and a lack of sunlight can cause a shift in the biological clock that in turn brings about an array of symptoms, including feelings of sadness, loss of interest in hobbies, changes in appetite, and loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours.
Luckily, SAD is very treatable, and if managed correctly, many people find themselves to go about their daily lives as normal, even during peak winter weather. “I find that drinking hot tea is a really good pick-me-up,” said senior Sarah Ann Mottley.
As far as managing the inevitable fatigue that comes with shorter periods of daylight and colder weather, there are a few very useful items on the market. One is the sunrise alarm clock, that can be programmed to “rise” like the sun and shine a soft light in the user’s face before its alarm goes off, so as to simulate a more natural wake up. Light therapy is another great way to combat a loss of energy. Light therapy box lamps, which emit bright, natural light through a special bulb, can be found on Amazon, and are highly rated by professionals as being an effective way to combat darker days.
Or, if you want to stick to a more basic method, exercise is a proven way to stay alert and healthy during periods of fatigue. “I’m on the basketball team, so that keeps me energized and in good spirits during the winter time,” said sophomore Sophie Georgiadis.
Regardless of which method you choose, Seasonal Affective Disorder can be managed, and is never permanent. “I just think of summer and keep my head up,” said sophomore Ann Douglas Rabon.