Warming up your winter blues

Chase Austin, Reporter

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As this year stretches into 2020 and students across campus settled into the rhythm of shorter winter days, some may find that they are unexpectedly experiencing a prevalent sense of melancholy and tedium. For many, especially students, the winter blues are in full swing. Someone with winter blues may experience decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, increased appetite especially for sweets and starches, weight gain, anxiety or decreased interest in socializing. This is completely normal, though having these symptoms can interfere with functioning both in their personal and professional life and if not managed well can lead to becoming depressed, commonly developing a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
This disorder is common and manageable. It can persist for very justifiable reasons in the case of a student, such as a break in biological rhythms from high school or workplace into a more relaxed college atmosphere. The workload increase over the course of a semester can also overwhelm and compound the problem.
If you find yourself experiencing winter blues, there are steps you can take to help with relieving them. Recognize the problem and remember that the early symptoms often involve changes in energy, sleep, appetite, weight, concentration and engagement with others. These symptoms often occur before feelings of depression. Take it seriously, act sooner rather than later and get help when needed.
Bring more light into your home. Light therapy is usually most potent in the morning and the earlier the better. Exercise, preferably combined with light, stay active socially and schedule activities you enjoy with friends and family members who cheer you up. If you find that despite all your best efforts, you are falling behind in your work, or that your health is suffering physically or emotionally, seek professional help. You can always consult a counselor, a doctor or a therapist. Other strategies can be very helpful and remember, you do not have to do it all yourself.

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