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SAD students: Dealing with seasonal affective disorder on a busy schedule
By Silvana Hill–
It’s hard enough to get through the semester without at least a few moments of stress and negativity-and when temperatures drop and sunlight is rare, it can often be compounded.
Between four to six percent of American adults suffer severe seasonal affective disorder. About twenty percent experience a milder form of it in the colder months.
It can be hard to take time to take care of yourself. But for the sake of your grades and your health, it’s necessary.
If you find yourself suffering low energy levels, low motivation and sadness during winter, there are many convenient ways to cope.
1. Lighten up-Exposure to natural light for at least thirty minutes a day has been shown to significantly reduce SAD symptoms. Study by a window, step outside, or invest in a light therapy box that mimics the effect of natural light. Fresh air can’t hurt, either.
2. Talk it out-If your seasonal depression feels severe, it’s a good idea to tell someone. Campus Health Services offers counseling sessions and information on medication and treating depression. Even if you just talk to a friend, it’s better than coping alone.
3. Make sure to move-Exercise, though healthy in many ways, has the added benefit of releasing endorphins (the “feel-good” hormone).
4. Physical health affects mental health and working on your physical fitness can help fight the winter energy slump in brain and body.
5. Track your vitamins-Lack of exposure to vitamin D-absorbed through exposure to sunlight and some foods-can worsen any kind of depression.
6. Look into supplements or increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin D, like fatty fish, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese.
7. Stay on schedule-It can be hard to get out of bed with SAD, much less engage in a rigorous schedule.
8.Make sure to attend classes, as sticking to your regular schedule adds needed structure to your day.
9. Include a few minutes per day for journaling, drawing, reading-anything that makes you happy.