Beating the winter blues


Natasha McAllister

Winter blues. Photo courtesy of UNO Communications.

Winter can last forever once the holiday season is over. There is nothing to look forward to until Spring Break at the end of March, it seems. Will the sun ever come out?

During the winter more people might feel the causes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Some effects include sleep problems, change in appetite or even losing interest in favorite activities.

SAD is caused by the lack of natural sunlight, and the winter season is when we see less of the sun.

Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School explained how lack of sunlight can cause chemical imbalance in the brain:

“Lack of light can throw off your circadian rhythm. This can cause your brain to produce too much of the sleep hormone melatonin and to release less serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that affects mood.”

There are ways, however, to fight off SAD. When it is sunny, spend time outside. Just because it is winter does not mean we should stay indoors. Some activities I enjoy are window shopping and walking my dog. I do not necessarily need anything when I go to stores but getting out of my room helps me fight SAD. If you do not have a pet, just take a short walk down the block, and maybe ask a friend to join you.

Another way to fight off SAD is exercise. During winter, you can go to the gym or find indoor activities that keep you active, such as rock climbing or joining an indoor sports team.

Feeling shut-in during the winter is one of the worst feelings so whenever you begin to feel restless, go somewhere. Another great way to fight SAD is to get out of the house or room. I will sometimes go to the library or coffee shop to study or write.

The good news is that once the days start getting longer, the feeling of seasonal affective disorder will most likely go away. Spring is just around the corner.