Smith: Seasonal depression settling in

Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith discusses the struggles of seasonal depression and how important it is to find things to be happy about.

Sage Smith

Halfway through October means the winter season is settling in and it’s easy to slip into a seasonal depression slump.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that sets in because of season changes. This whole year has been full of downs and not many ups, so the winter is probably worrying to some, especially for those who usually get sad in the winter months.

Last year I talked with Alexander Toftness, a psychology graduate student, for an article. (He’s a really cool guy by the way, he even has a YouTube channel). My article was about the impact mental health can have on academic performance.

While not a guaranteed prevention of SAD, Toftness said taking a vitamin D supplement could help. I want to be very clear: neither Toftness nor I am a doctor, but adding a vitamin to your daily routine may be a good idea.

Do your research now, see what you can do to avoid that drop in mood. Taking extra vitamins starting now may make the holiday seasons and transition into November and December a little more bearable as they come.

Therapy of course is always a good tool for any mental health-related struggle. If you already see a therapist, tell them your worries about the upcoming winter and see what you can be doing to help yourself.

In our world of social distancing, hanging out with friends and going on winter adventures may not be as possible as it used to be. Try to maintain some of the social times you have set up now.

Don’t be afraid to randomly FaceTime a friend when you’re feeling lonely or bundle up and go on a walk with someone. Then you get some fresh air and exercise while being able to keep distance from others.

For me personally, I don’t like the winter holiday season besides Halloween. I’m not one who looks forward to the Thanksgiving feast or Christmas cheer. The winter months just have been a dark time for me for a long time…same with summer but we’ll ignore that for now.

What I find to be very helpful is allowing myself to do things I want to enjoy. When school isn’t in session, take advantage of that genuine free time. Binge watch your favorite TV show, take a lot of naps, write that book or blog you keep saying you’re going to get to.

Let yourself do whatever you want to do, let yourself do whatever you need to do.

Also, don’t be afraid to give in to your inner child. When we get snow, put on warm clothes and go dance in the snow. Have little siblings at home that play with toys and you’re bored? Join them. While cleaning your room, if you find a cartoon coloring book, go for it!

Depression is hard, whether it is something you constantly struggle with or something that only hits when the temperature drops. And it is so hard to know how to handle it when all you want to do is suffocate under the blankets in bed.

I know most of you reading this are strangers or maybe we just aren’t on a super personal level, but I would want nothing more than to be able to be a friend for you. I’m the type of person that will directly message someone if they post something sad, just to check on them. Or I’ll call you immediately if you text that you’re feeling lost.

Reach me on Twitter @heysagesmith or email me at [email protected]. You’re not alone in anything.

The feeling of loneliness can be so consuming and horrible. Loneliness is one of the worst feelings for me, so please reach out to anyone you feel comfortable with, just to talk to them. Seek out counseling services available through your school if needed or contact a trusted friend, colleague, professor, family member — anyone.

Please, stay strong. Try to remember the good parts of life and try to do what makes you happy when the weather is cold and the days are dark.