It’s that time of year again! When it gets pitch black at 4:30 p.m. and the chilling dry air causes skin inflammation and naked vegetation. The sun has decided it will only work part-time, and it can be hard to function because of it.
It’s always around this time where the cold and darkness lower my energy and mood. I feel this cloud of sadness hanging over me, and there is no reason for it! In the past, I didn’t want to be around anyone or do anything, and my state of mind took a toll on me, physically as well. I found myself glued to my bed, and the intense stress of finals did not help the situation. After doing a bit of research, I found out that I am not the only one who gets the blues from these dingy days.
According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder or SAD usually occurs in people at the end of fall leading into winter (though it can still occur in the summer and spring.) When people are exposed to less sunlight, it can cause depression, weight fluctuations, low energy, feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. This is not a rare occurrence either. A 2019 Boston University article by Madeleine O’Keefe says, “around 10 million Americans suffer from SAD.”
For those who are suffering from this common physical and mental strain, Drew offers various resources that can help during this strange time of the year. The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking a therapist to help process harmful and/or negative thoughts in a better way to help eliminate them. The James A. McClintock Center for Counseling and Psychological Services offers mental health counseling and outreach programs to Drew University students.
Exercising regularly, even if it is only for five minutes each day, helps to create endorphins which boosts mood and energy. The Simon Forum & Athletic Center offers access to a pool, exercise equipment, an indoor track and ball courts.
Youtube offers a variety of guided meditations that can help to refocus an overwhelmed brain. Some options are even specified towards seasonal depression and SAD.
It is a process that can’t just be fixed, which can be really frustrating. It takes a lot of work to get better from any kind of depression, but it’s important to be aware of the effects of seasonal affective disorder and that there is hope and you are not alone.
If you are struggling during this darkened portion of the year you can reach out to Drew’s Mental Health services at (973) 408-3398 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If someone you know is experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Phoebe Chen is a sophomore majoring in English writing communications and minoring in creative writing