Helpful ways to combat seasonal depression

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It’s common to feel a little out of your element during the winter months. Shorter days, having to wear heavy layers, and in Oregon, the endless cloud cover and rain drenching us.  Often Seasonal Affective Disorder, or ‘seasonal depression’ affects young people, particularly women who live far from the equator.

I know what you’re thinking, this is half or more people who go to WHS who could possibly be influenced. Seasonal depression can affect people in a multitude of ways.  Having low energy, weight gain, overeating, hypersomnia, and social withdrawal or “hibernating”, and a craving for carbohydrates. People are more at risk if they have existing depression or have a family history of depression.

SAD can happen from various ways, your body can be producing too much melatonin which encourages sleep, lack of Vitamin D intake which lowers the amount of serotonin. Serotonin is largely associated with feelings of well-being and happiness.

There are four major ways to combat SAD, the first being medication such as antidepressants or vitamin D supplements. If you want to steer away from taking supplements, light therapy has been a mainstay for seasonal depression since the 1980s. This requires a light box with bright lights, to be effective, 20 to 60 minutes of exposure everyday should help with the lack of exposure to light.

According to Mayo Clinic, psychotherapy is another way method which is also called cognitive behavioral therapy. Techniques used are behavioral activation which are identifying the negative thoughts or emotions and replace them with positive ones. Helpful ways to do this are identifying tasks or activities that bring you happiness or joy, either inside or outside to help combat seasonal depression.

“To help with seasonal depression, I do things during the the school week to brighten my day. Invite over your friends to watch a movie, a good choice Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” said Isaac Boger

Some suggested activities to help with seasonal depression are: watching movies, playing dance dance revolution, watching Rupaul’s Drag Race with a group of friends, ice skating, making a tinder (if you’re over 18), skiing, snowshoeing, getting coffee, going to the mall, getting a facial, and for me organizing and cleaning my room.