Methods to fight off seasonal depression

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Photo used with permission from Google Commons

For many the holiday season is a time of joy and gratefulness, but for others it can be a pit of loneliness and anxiety.

As the seasons change, people may experience seasonal affective disorder, more commonly known as seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, according to the Mayo Clinic. Typically seasonal depression occurs in the winter months, but it can also occur in the spring and summer. Over three million people each year are diagnosed with seasonal depression in the US and sufferers are left wondering how to fight it.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder during the winter include excessive sleep, changes in appetite, weight gain, and tiredness.. If experiencing most of these symptoms, go to a medical professional to get diagnosed. Although there is no specific known cause to seasonal depression, senior Joseph Yi feels it may not just be due to the weather and shortened days, but also the fact that the school year is in full force during winter months. “I think it’s a combination of school workload, stress and other activities,” Yi said.

I think it’s a combination of school workload, stress and other activities”

— Joseph Yi

Luckily there are several ways you can treat it. Social studies teacher Matthew Winter has not been clinically diagnosed, but cold and short days tend to dampen his mood. Winter suggests exercising or traveling to warm places for a week, when there is no pandemic going on. Other ways to treat seasonal depression are light therapy, talk therapy, and medication, according to Mayo Clinic.

Other effective ways to fight off seasonal depression are spending time with friends and family, watching a favorite Netflix show, or anything that will serve as a distraction to the shortened cold winter days. If those activities don’t help as much as desired, try to cozy up. Cozy blankets and sweatshirts are a useful way to keep warm through the cold weather.

The bottom line is that there are medical and practical ways to fight off seasonal depression. Don’t be afraid to talk to a trusted adult or call the suicide prevention hotline, 800-273-8255, if you are struggling with seasonal depression, it can help a lot more than you think.