It can be difficult to get out of bed. The room is too cold, the position of the body is in perfect zen, that quiz in an hour isn’t that important. The little voice tells you, “stay here a little longer.” It says, “stay here where you can do nothing — don’t think, don’t feel, don’t be.” Having any form of depression can be challenging. A new persona can take over and control the body’s actions, leaving the mind to sit in a corner and ponder over the smallest of details. Those who feel their motivation plummet and want to withdraw from others may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D).
S.A.D. is a type of depression that is related to the changes of seasons and can be more serious than the “winter blues.” S.A.D. occurs more commonly in the winter months; however, it can also occur in the spring and summer. Since it’s February, we are already a month past the heart of winter, so let’s look at a few things you can do to help yourself get through one more month:
For some, the hardest step is to talk to another person about what they’re going through. But sharing fears, worries, trivial thoughts and literally anything else that comes to mind can be relieving. Psychotherapy is a step further, in that you learn about your condition as well as your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. It helps assess and develop healthy coping skills.
For those on campus, Michigan State’s Counseling Center is a great resource, with walk-ins available Monday through Friday at various times in the day, for you to seek a listening ear. If someone needs additional help, the staff is more than capable to give out referral information to resources outside of campus.
Since the 1980s, light therapy has been a go-to method to help with S.A.D. There’s no better light than natural light; however, if you can’t be around windows or get outside for a bit, a Verilux HappyLight may be the best option. A Verilux HappyLight offers additional light similar to natural light, which helps to combat lethargy and improve focus. Even if you do not have S.A.D., it can help you stay motivated until the full arrival of spring.
A year-round goal, but one that still makes a difference in managing Seasonal Affective Disorder, is engaging in physical activity. Exercise can range from a leisurely walk around the neighborhood to regular trips to the gym. Typically, when a person works out, it relieves stress and anxiety -— two factors that can increase S.A.D. symptoms. Plus, when you work out you become stronger and there’s no downside to that.
This February, if you are suffering from S.A.D or struggling with mental health, remember, it’s okay to feel lost and/or trapped. It’s important to seek help from friends, family, professional support systems and even yourself. You are your most dedicated caretaker; no one knows what you need more than yourself. Be sure to face your troubles with the knowledge that you can get through it and it’s all going to be okay.
Cynthia Bezinque is a senior studying professional writing with a minor in documentary production. When she isn’t working on video production she loves to sew, make stained glass projects and read. Board game nights are a thing in her family.