Making the Most of Shorter Days

As we near the colder weather, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be approaching. SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, most often times during the fall and winter seasons and resolving during the spring and summer seasons. Some symptoms of SAD can include, but are not limited to:

  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating, and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating

Experiencing seasonal depression is very normal, so it is important to not brush off the feeling of “winter blues” and think you must tough it out on your own. Here are some tips on dealing with less sunlight and shorter days, helping you stay steady throughout the fall and winter seasons.

  • Go outside! It is crucial that you continue to get as much Vitamin D as possible from sunlight. Take advantage of your lunch break to make sure you get some sun before the early sunset.
  • Stay active! Daily exercise is a great line of defense against seasonal depression. For the best results, exercise in the morning to be energized for the rest of the day and get some sunlight!
  • Stay hydrated! Drinking water will keep you from constantly feeling tired and hungry. It will also prevent dry skin!
  • Stick to a sleep schedule! Keeping a schedule will help prevent you from throwing your body out of whack. Try to stay away from afternoon naps for uninterrupted sleep at night.
  • Get a new hobby! It is crucial to find something that will keep you awake and happy during the darker afternoons. Try some options that can be done in comfort – knitting, coloring, journaling, or writing.
  • Cook dinner! Planning this activity will give you something extra to do at home – and it will help your wallet. Take this time to try new recipes and invite friends over for some home-cooked meals!

Most importantly, embrace the slower pace! Don’t feel guilty if you are not packing your winter with a lot of activities. Adapt to the slower pace of winter and enjoy activities like reading a book or taking a long drive. Sometimes, the best way to cope is to slow down and recharge.

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But, if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your healthcare provider. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.

Click here for more information regarding SAD and click here for more information regarding winter activities! As always, click here for Health and Well-Being resources for ECU students.