Although winter brings many favorable activities such as ice skating, drinking hot cocoa and the holiday season, many feel the winter months drag, leaving them more susceptible to feelings of sadness.
In more ways than one, weather affects our mood. This may be the reason that many students feel as if the second trimester is the hardest to get through. This may be for a number of reasons, however, but one must monitor their mental health during these chilly months and consider seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a possibility for a change in mood.
What is SAD? According to Mayo Clinic, it is “a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year.” Seasonal affective disorder is very common coming in with around three million cases per year in the United States alone. It is more likely to occur starting in late fall and progressing deep into the winter months, but it can also occur during the spring and summer for some people.
According to Psychology Today, one of the main causes for winter on-set SAD deals with “winter days getting shorter and darker, melatonin production in the body increases and people tend to feel sleepier and more lethargic.” Other factors may include decreased serotonin levels and a genetic history of depression. Winter on-set SAD symptoms include “oversleeping, appetite changes (especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates), weight gain, tiredness or low energy.”
As the second trimester trudges on, if you consistently feel any of the symptoms above, do not dismiss them as the “winter blues.” There are many ways to treat SAD, such as vitamin D supplements, psychotherapy, light therapy and in extreme cases antidepressants. Take steps to regulate your mood instead of facing it alone, there is no shame in asking for help.