Here’s how to adjust to rainy days and fight off those seasonal blues.
This Sunday, we changed our clocks to fall back one hour. This is an effort to get us moving earlier since it is now getting darker sooner. This change can affect those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that usually starts in fall and continues with winter and can affect your energy and moods.
With this change, our bodies can feel both mentally and physically drained. It may feel more difficult to stay up or even keep a good mood throughout the day. With this in mind, here are some tips to adjust to the changing seasons!
Go Outside Earlier
With fewer daylight hours, it can be hard to really soak up the fresh air. Instead of driving or taking the trolley to class, try walking! Even a small stroll can boost serotonin levels.
Listen to Uplifting Music
It can be tempting to listen to depressing music when it’s dark and gloomy outside, but listening to upbeat music can help fight off sad feelings. Listening to music with happier melodies and lyrics while cleaning, doing homework or even going to class can produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which spark happiness!
Going on a simple walk, hitting the gym or exercising in the comfort of your room can help with the winter blues. Moving allows you to get all your energy out and can help you feel productive. It helps both your physical and mental health, which is important when heading into new seasons. One of my favorite workouts to do is youtube’s madfit beginner friendly workout! It’s low impact and apartment friendly, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors.
Taking Vitamin D
To help fight off seasonal depression, taking vitamin D supplements can help. Low levels of vitamin D caused by lack of sunlight exposure are common in people with seasonal depression. Taking one supplement a day can help avoid vitamin D deficiency. Target sells them for $3.99, making it college budget friendly. Note, however, that it’s important to ask your doctor or care provider before adding a supplement to your lifestyle.
Take Control of Your Light
With the sun rising earlier, the light coming through windows can disturb our sleep. Going to sleep with an eye mask can allow for your body to wake up on its own or to your alarm. To help with productivity, open the blinds during the day and let the daylight come in while it’s out. While we may not be able to control when the sun sets and rises, we can control how it comes into our homes.
Using a diffuser can allow for essential oils to work their magic. A review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine states that essential oils could potentially help lessen symptoms of depression and other issues such as anxiety and insomnia, depending on which oil you use. Amazon sells a diffuser kit for under $20 with six different oils to start.
As the seasons change, oftentimes, our moods do as well. Seasonal affective depression is real and it’s important to take care of ourselves and look out for our friends. Additionally, Azusa Pacific’s University Counseling Center (UCC) offers free in person and telehealth sessions to students. If you find yourself in need, don’t hesitate to reach out, and keep prioritizing your mental health this fall and winter.