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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

SWArticle: SAD

<ny students begin feeling down when winter hits. About 10% of northern state residents struggle with full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder, while an additional 30% deal with a lower-grade version.

Symptoms include a generally lower mood, decreased energy, changes in appetite, increased irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Here are some easy things to do to re-elevate your mood.

Spend time outdoors: this can break up the monotony of winter “hibernation”.  Spending time in the sunlight gives the body increased opportunities to absorb vitamin D, which can boost mood by stimulating the release of serotonin in the brain.

Opening curtains and sitting near windows: this can help stabilize circadian rhythms. The Wellness Center also provides the use of the light box, which research has shown to be effective in treating SAD-like symptoms, especially in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Exercise and eating well: Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, and in fact, if done regularly, increases overall energy. A healthy diet, focused particularly on complex carbohydrates (whole grains, leafy greens, beans, some fruits…) also provides more energy.

Sleep: The recommended amount (7-9 hours), but trying to keep a regular sleep schedule may be more important and beneficial. Waking up reasonably early also means more time in natural light! Avoid letting alcohol interfere with your sleep, and remember that while it may be a short-term stimulant, it’s ultimately a depressant.

Despite the weather, try to avoid holing up indoors: make that extra effort to go see friends across campus. You can also use the winter as an opportunity to get closer to your floor community. Either way, maintain healthy social connections!

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