Winter months bring SADness

By Hayley Brener, Feature Editor

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     It happens every year. The daylight wanes and the warm days of summer turn into gloomy and cold winter days of today. Millions of people begin to feel sluggish, depressed and socially withdrawn. This is widely known as the “winter blues.”  While this common feeling is usually ignored, it can manifest into the clinical diagnosis called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This mood disorder is characterized by depression at the same time every year, winter. According to mental health America, Symptoms include depression, general discontent, extreme fatigue and irritability.

     Many students experience a noticeable shift in their moods once the seasons change, but it is exacerbated after daylight savings. The sun sets earlier, making many people feel more tired and lazy earlier. Paired with the cold weather, this can even cause a lack of motivation and social withdrawal.

     “I definitely feel more sad in the winter, especially when it gets darker earlier,” junior Emily Holleuffer said. “ I just love summer and hate when its cold out.”

     “I notice my mood shift every winter,” sophomore Adam Cinque said. “I never really thought anything about it until hearing about this disorder but I am happier and more energized in the summer.”

      The change in weather and lack of vitamin D from sunlight can affect about 3 million people a year. This can then cause a drop in serotonin levels which is the neurological cause for the depressive feelings. While this disorder should be taken seriously, it usually passes once the weather gets warmer and the sun shines again. Once symptoms become noticeable, action should be taken.

     Vitamin D pills and light boxes can mimic natural sunlight’s effect on the brain. These are some of the easiest and fastest ways to get the nutrients vital to overcoming this disorder. Another way to combat fatigue and depressive moods is exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which can boost one’s mood. When paired with healthy food and plentiful rest, these suggested treatments are an effective yet natural way to combat this disorder.

     “When its cold and dark out, I am more tired and lazy,” freshman Noah Decker. “But, I feel like exercising and playing basketball has helped me be more energetic so I feel like everyone should try that.”