Posted by Jake Rose
Feeling S.A.D.? Have the winter blues? Lack of sunlight putting you down?
Depending on how severe and persistent your blues are, it might be better termed "seasonal affective disorder" (S.A.D.).
S.A.D. is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a possible indication of major depression.
To qualify as having S.A.D., you must experience depressive episodes habitually and exclusively in the winter months.
Symptoms usually take the form of oversleeping, overeating, lack of energy and withdrawal from social situations.
As the intensity of S.A.D. is directly related to weather, there are more reported cases in the northern states than in the southern ones.
One has to wonder if this effect can be seen throughout the college dorms and in those students who have been spending noticeably more time in the dining hall.
Here in snowy Saratoga it can be too easy to feel depressed because of the recent weather. The days are short, the sunlight is minimal and the temperatures aspire to be double digits.
Remember when it was -27 degrees? We were all a little sad about that.
These days it can even be hard to motivate yourself to walk from one building to the next.
Here is a quick do-it-yourself guide to staying happy in the midst of a grey winter.
First, equip your dorm room with a few winter survival essentials: tea, hot chocolate, real chocolate and appropriate indoor lighting.
Next, invite friends over to talk about how cold it is outside.
Not cured yet? Did you eat the chocolate?
Alright, maybe that was an overly simple solution. After all, S.A.D. is a real kind of depression that cannot be fixed by warm beverages and sweets alone.
Doctors suggest medicating with antidepressants, light therapy and exercise.
To get a better sense of how Skidmore students stay cheery during these cold months, I talked to Peter Johnston '14 and L.J. Combs ‘14.
"When it starts getting darker out earlier, I don't get seriously depressed, but I get more tired," Johnston said.
"I hang out with friends more, and getting exercise definitely helps. I can't go outside and play ultimate [Frisbee] or basketball, but it's good to run for half an hour. I still have a body and I'm not a hermit."
When asked what advice he would give to other students, Johnston replied, "Get out there and do something! Make an event for the day, even if it isn't something big or important. It could be taking a walk or watching a movie, but make time for it and hang out with friends."
"I'm so tired I can't think," Combs contributed.
No matter how you choose to combat S.A.D. this season, do so with a group of your peers and friends and remember that spring and sun are just around the corner!
Remember: one more month until spring break.