With the temperature dropping, the leaves changing, and midterms looming it can be hard moving through the snowy season. With the colder weather and winter months it’s easy for students to fall into feeling the blues.
Let’s first clarify the difference between the ‘winter blues’ and seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common challenge faced by college students. It is a diagnosable type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the fall or winter. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is not just feeling blue from the winter weather but a recurring pattern that matches the symptoms of major depression.
The winter blues are rather the feeling of being less motivated or bummed out by the winter weather. However, the winter blues are much less extreme and typically don’t follow a recurring pattern throughout a person’s life.
Whether it is seasonal depression or the winter blues it can be hard to seek help, and it can be hard knowing how to help yourself when feeling depressed or anxious.
Here are some general tips that might help combat these feelings.
Reach Out to Friends and Family.
Isolation and feelings of loneliness is a common cause for depression and feelings of sadness. It’s important to remember to reach out for help and to say yes.
It’s hard to say yes when you’re feeling down but keep yourself open to connect with others. It’s easy to spend your time stuck in your dorm room or apartment building. By being open to saying yes to even one thing a night you can reach out and find some connection.
Think Positive Thoughts and Compliment Yourself.
Depression can bring on negative thoughts and lack of motivation. When you’re feeling down, it’s important to maintain good thoughts and self-compliments. It’s hard disconnecting with depressing thoughts and self-judgment but focus on giving one positive compliment to yourself.
For instance, compliment your smile, praise the fact that you finished an assignment, acknowledge something good you did for someone else. By focusing on at least one positive thing, you empower yourself to do better and seek the help you need.
Complete One Goal a Day.
It’s hard being motivated when feeling down or depressed. Seeing all the things that need to be done can be overwhelming. Seeing all the homework, grades, and work schedules can be a lot to think about and especially so when handling the winter blues.
It’s important to break those tasks down into small, manageable bites. At the end of the day, focus on one thing that you want to finish during the day – even if it’s just going to class, finishing an essay, or eating a healthy meal. By focusing on one task at a time you are able to take on life one challenge at a time and things become more manageable.
Make Your Bed
This tip might seem really silly, but this simple action can help you the most. By making your bed every day you’re accomplishing one thing a day.
Additionally, by making your space clean, you’re able to lessen the chaos around you. Making your bed can help motivate you to move forward through your day one thing at a time.
For some people, it can be hard to make your bed first thing in the morning. Perhaps you’re late to class, or just not an early-riser.That’s no problem. Just make your bed when you get back from class, or on a lunch break from work.
By making your bed you can reduce the distractions you have and motivate yourself to keep moving. You’re tricking your brain into not crawling back into bed and staying trapped in a blanket cocoon.
Creating a Schedule
When feeling depressed it can be hard to have a clear mind or focus on the tasks you need to have done for the day. When you aren’t feeling motivated, it’s easy to just let yourself stay in bed or to feel lost or lonely.
One solution to help aid in staying on top of your mental health is creating a routine for yourself. By planning out your week and focusing on one task at a time you can focus your energy on completing the next task rather then trying to motivate yourself independently.
When depressed, it’s hard to feel motivated, and setting a schedule can help in making the day seem less hectic and intimidating.
Resources on Campus
As stated above there is a difference between feeling generally sad during the winter months and seasonal depression. However, SAD has a greater risk of affecting younger adults, women, and individuals with a family history of depression. It’s important to contact your doctor if you feel you might be suffering from seasonal depression.
Additionally, we have Counseling and Psychological Services or CAPS that can help aid students with feelings of depression and finding resources. You can contact CAPS by calling at 435-865-8621 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Alex Greenwell
Photos courtesy of unsplash.com