“Beat the Seasonal Affectedness Disorder?”

It is well known as the winter blues, however, there is actually a medical name for it, and may be more serious than you think.  Seasonal Affectedness Disorder (SAD) is a very real thing. If you begin to generally feel tired and/ or moody during the colder months, it may be affecting you. First, please talk to your doctor if you can relate to the symptoms above. Second, there are certain things you can do to lessen the burden of SAD.


Staying active. This may seem like an obvious one that is thrown in your face over and over, but it is too true. Winter forces people to stay inside for most of the day, so the level of activity in the outdoors that many of us partake in during the warmer months is drastically cut down. Exercising more indoors is required to make up for the lack of outdoor activity. Madison is blessed with a multi-use community center, though. You can swipe your student ID, and instantly have access to the pool, gyms, studio and equipment room. There are also classes offered daily, if you are into social exercising. Some of my personal favorites are Zumba and yoga.

Letting the light in. Along with not being outside as much, means having less access to sunlight. It is proven that sunlight raises your Vitamin D levels. Doctors recommend simply sitting by a window in the winter time to get some sun.

Personalizing your space. Since you will be stuck inside for most of the coming winter, why not enjoy the space that you will be in most of the time? String indoor Christmas lights in your room, and put up pictures of things you did during the summer to remind you of the warm times! Add a wax warmer with your favorite scents, and hang up homemade paintings. Motivate yourself to keep it clean, as you will be in there quite a bit! Your personal space will definitely make the cold outside a little more bearable.

Winter Activities. Nonetheless, just because it is going to be very cold out, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! Madison offers plenty to do as far as winter activities go. Each year, there is a space in the west of town that is flooded and made into an outdoor ice rink. Used skates can most likely be bought at the thrift stores in Madison if you are lacking a pair, or steal your old pair from home. Also, if you live in the dorms, there are sleds available for campus use in your residence hall.  (There will be small hills of snow where they have snowplowed the parking spots.) Be sure to ask your RA! Campus is also a great place for snowball fights, snowman or snow fort building, snow angels, etc.

I would like to stress that the above things are not meant to be any form of treatment or medicine for SAD, but rather, coping mechanisms. Again, ask your doctor if you are concerned about whether you may have it. Hopefully, the activities mentioned above will lessen the sting of the “winter blues!”


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