by Elyse Huber staff writer
Cold weather has once again come to Chicago, and with the brutal winter winds comes Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is defined in the dictionary as depression associated with late autumn and winter caused by lack of light.
Catherine Cates, part-time nurse here at Moody, said that Seasonal Affective Disorder comes and goes based on the season. “It is characterized by depression, low energy, having difficulty concentrating, losing interest, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, fatigue, and oversleeping” she said.
Senior intercultural studies major Becca Wiegman was born and raised in Florida, so Chicago winters have been a rude awakening for her normal warm, beachy lifestyle. “When I first got here I didn’t have a roommate and it was a hundred degree difference from home,” she said. “I went through about four days of mild depression. I didn’t know how to bundle up or handle the outside weather. I was cold all the time; it was uncomfortable and really hard. I still don’t look forward to it, it makes me anxious.”
Cates gave several suggestions to help combat SAD while at Moody. “Keep your blinds open and sit near a window to make your environment sunnier. Go outside for a little every day; even cloudy days are beneficiary” she said. “Exercise helps to improve your mood and it reduces stress. It is also important to get enough rest, make time to relax, and make healthy food choices.”
Some Moody students have found their own unique ways to avoid getting Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Junior ministry to victims of sexual exploitations major Eli Hartwig employs a variety of methods to energize herself during the winter months, such as learning defense and combat Krav Maga and taking vitamin D supplements.
“The vitamin D helps with my low energy; not like caffeine, but it perks me up,” she said. “I notice a considerable difference when I don’t take them. I’m a lot more fatigued and my mood is lower.” Another one of her favorite winter activities is doing art while cuddling with fuzzy socks and blankets.
Sophomore elementary education major Casey Zoppa and her roommate, sophomore intercultural major Alyssa Coy, both get restless during this time of year. They each found their own way to evade Seasonal Affective Disorder. Zoppa set up a heat lamp, which she refers to as her “happy lamp”, over a comfy chair. She sits under the lamp for about 20-30 minutes at a time and says it boosts her mood.
Coy does something more active: she has a mini trampoline in her room. “During gloomy weather I sulk around and get sad. Exercising helps me relax and release tension,” she said. “(A trampoline) is the most fun way to get exercise inside of a dorm.”
Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect students regardless of what climate they come from. Fortunately there are many mood boosting options that can be utilized to make the cold winters a little happier.