The Centurion

Winter Blues: The Effects of Seasonal Depression

Every+year+almost+five+percent+of+the+population+suffers+from+the+seasonal+affective+disorder+more+commonly+known+as+%E2%80%9Cthe+winter+blues.%E2%80%9D+Winter+with+shorter+days+and+cold+climates+often+limit+people+from+their+normal+activities%2C+which+can+lead+to+depression%2C+anxiety%2C+light+sensitivity+and+even+weight+gain.+Taking+walks+on+sunny+days%2C+talking+with+family+and+friends%2C+light+therapy+and+winter+activities+can+help+prevent+depression+and+anxiety+during+the+winter+months.+%28U.S.+Air+Force+photo%2FStaff+Sgt.+Jason+McCasland%29
Every year almost five percent of the population suffers from the seasonal affective disorder more commonly known as “the winter blues.” Winter with shorter days and cold climates often limit people from their normal activities, which can lead to depression, anxiety, light sensitivity and even weight gain. Taking walks on sunny days, talking with family and friends, light therapy and winter activities can help prevent depression and anxiety during the winter months. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland)

Every year almost five percent of the population suffers from the seasonal affective disorder more commonly known as “the winter blues.” Winter with shorter days and cold climates often limit people from their normal activities, which can lead to depression, anxiety, light sensitivity and even weight gain. Taking walks on sunny days, talking with family and friends, light therapy and winter activities can help prevent depression and anxiety during the winter months. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland)

Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland

Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland

Every year almost five percent of the population suffers from the seasonal affective disorder more commonly known as “the winter blues.” Winter with shorter days and cold climates often limit people from their normal activities, which can lead to depression, anxiety, light sensitivity and even weight gain. Taking walks on sunny days, talking with family and friends, light therapy and winter activities can help prevent depression and anxiety during the winter months. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland)

Breayna Curran

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Students are doing their best to maintain positive spirits and good vibes during one of the coldest winters our area has had in a while.
Even though the winter months bring the students most beloved thing, winter break, it has its negative traits. Longer nights, freezing temperatures, and a general mood shift felt by most students on campus. Whether for better, for worse, students had their own mixed feelings about the somber days.
Statistically, 6% of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood disorder that occurs each year around the same time frame. 14% suffer only from ‘winter blues’, a more common and less severe type of SAD. When students were asked, many reported feeling more fatigued, sensitive, and less motivated, all symptoms of seasonal depression.
Some students took on a more scientific point of view, 19-year-old Warminster resident and biology major, Mariam Ashar said, “I think it’s more physical because in winter the days are short and we have a hormone named melatonin, which is secreted more in the dark, making us more tired and wanting to go to bed.”
A 19-year-old Southampton local and psychology major, Regina Resikoff took a mixed approach. “I just get in a funk around winter. I feel like from a science perspective, maybe it’s because we’re inside more so we don’t get as many vitamins and such.” Resikoff stated how she’s been dealing with SAD from a young age, but has gotten better over time.
Other students viewed it as a psychological tug of war, seeing winter as an emotional roller coaster.
Early childhood and education major, 19-year-old Amber Yates from Warminster described it as “it’s just overall gloomy.” When asked if it affects her life majorly, she said, “I get tired in the day more often and I do worse in school, my grades get lower, I feel like I want to dropout.” An alarming phrase for any college student to say.
The emotional impact nature is having on our students is one of serious concern and should be one raising questions on what we can do as a community to help each other.
On a more positive note, students have shown they have strategies for bringing more positivity than negativity to light during these winter blues.
“I try to distract myself and throw myself into whatever is going on in my life like school or work the best I can,” says Gina Kephart, a 19-year-old liberal arts major from Warminster.
Another way to keep spirits high is possibly just reaching out, “When people ask me if I’m okay, just letting me have reassurance that I’m cared for,” Yates admitted.
Guidance counseling is available from 8:30-4:30pm Monday through Friday and can be reached on campus, by email ([email protected]), or by phone at 215-968-8189. There are also 24-hour hotlines available on the information page as well as other emergency contacts.
All mental illnesses, long or short term, are a serious concern. If you feel you need help or think someone you know needs help, Bucks offers counseling services both free of charge and confidential. Bucks counseling can also put you on the path to a longer term and more permanent solution, like ongoing therapy. Never be afraid to ask from help from someone you trust, and please remember that everyone is going through something. It is important we are kind, we listen, and we help.

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Winter Blues: The Effects of Seasonal Depression