Not So Merry
It’s 8 a.m., and your alarm goes off. You’re ready to jump out of bed, start the coffee pot, and get the head start on your day that you’ve been trying to have for weeks. But… you hit snooze instead and sleep until 10:00. When you get up, it takes you two hours to get ready, and you don’t leave the house until after 1:00. Your commute to school, work, internship, wherever, takes about an hour. You get out of class, or off work, or finish with that project and, whoa, it’s already dark outside. The murky, cold weather does nothing to improve your mood, and now you’re waiting for the bus in an itchy wool scarf- still cold- and all you want to do is hide under your covers for the rest of the season. Did I mention that you still have more work to get done? This scene probably seems familiar. Procrastination, oversleeping, and lack of motivation can make a very imperfect portrait of wintertime, especially for those with seasonal depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder in which one experiences major changes in mood during a shift in seasons that may last for months until the season changes. People affected with the disorder experience frequently low mood, lack of motivation, fatigue, anxiety, and even loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. Common around winter time, when the sun isn’t out and temperatures are low, SAD can also affect people in the summer or spring months. People who have SAD usually experience major depression year-round that may worsen with season changes.
It’s hard to feel the ho-ho-ho when your mood is low-low-low (bad pun, sorry). Thankfully, yours truly has a few novice tips on how to deal with the negative energy:
-Make sure you get enough sleep and that you’re not sleeping in too late. Give yourself a bedtime and actually stick to it. Balance is key.
-Consider taking Vitamin D pills to replace the energy you’re not getting from natural sunlight (bonus points if they’re gummies). If you’re balling like that, buy a heat lamp.
-Talk to a healthcare professional or counselor about your depression (I know it may seem dramatic, but SAD is a real disorder; you might need extra reinforcements)
-Find something little you can look forward to everyday. A call from a friend you might not see often, a cup of hot chocolate after work, a treat from the art supply store, get creative!
-Draw inspiration from the world around you. Winter can be brutally cold, but it still has lots of cool things to offer. Remember, the seasons co-exist for a reason.
-Spend time with people who get it. Vibe off positive energy. Trust me, you’ll need it later.
-Spend time alone. Explore a new cafe, write about how you feel, start a new project, or just unwind with music and movies.
-Stay warm. This one may seem pretty obvious, but do you really think catching a cold is gonna make this any better? Nah.
-Do seasonal things like ice skating, light seeing, and ugly sweater parties. These things only happen once a year, you know.
-Try volunteering with a soup kitchen or animal shelter. Doing something good for the living might you want to do some living too.
If none of this works, just pretend like you’re the star of a cliché romantic comedy where the main character is romantically depressed and good looking and always comes out okay in the end.