Seasonal sadness slowly sinks in

By kit murray

murrayki@mnstate.edu

While looking out the window, a gray and cloudy day is before us. Snow is slowly falling from the sky, and kids across the street are playing together, tossing each other to the ground and enveloping themselves in the white abyss. It’s the most wonderful time of year.

This may not be true for all of us. Seasonal depression hits many people, especially in this area of the country, and it hits us hard.

Asking anyone I know what their favorite season may be, odds are I would not get winter as their response. Why do we dread this cold, miserable season every eight months? If we live here, we should learn to enjoy it the best we possibly can.

I’ve decided to create a list to help those in need of a smile when the weather negatively affects one’s mood. A few things that have worked for me may not work for someone else.

A ritual I continue every day has proven to be especially effective throughout this time of year. Each morning, and throughout the day, I sit down and meditate with my thoughts and make a cup of tea. It may seem simple, and to those who hate tea, try coffee, hot chocolate, or even a warm cup of milk. It’s something that warms our bodies when it’s beyond freezing outside. Tea, especially Christmas blends, help me realize how glorious the little things are.

Sleep. Ask my roommate, who is half bear, how important sleep is in her life. It is the most natural form of meditation; it simply clears our mind. There is nothing more luxurious than a Sherpa throw, a soft pillow and a mattress. If a little extra sleep isn’t appealing, grab a good book and snuggle up on the couch next to the fireplace.

Consider investing in light therapy. Many people swear by this, and use it often throughout winter. There are many places that sell light boxes which mimic outdoor light to provide vitamin D, which is essential in each and every one of our lives.

Volunteer. This one is dear to my heart, especially during the holidays. So many people around us are in need and giving back is rewarding in more ways than one. It’s an incredible way to appreciate the community and to spread genuine kindness to those in need.

Exercise. Grab a friend, go to the gym and encourage each other on the elliptical.

Go lift some weights, run around the track with a buddy. Or, hit two birds with one stone and grab a cup of coffee while going on a walk with a friend.

“I exercise at least five times a week, it gives me tons more energy,” said student Fay Dawson. “Soup for lunch is a must. October to January is soup season! I get excited to buy new winter accessories too! Also, do not forget about beautiful Christmas is with lights, presents, and family.”

Treat yourself. This is my absolute favorite phrase in the entire world. Why? Because think about it; what reason is there not to treat yourself? Just aced an exam? Treat yourself. Worked a long shift? Treat yourself. Fell on the ice and bruised a knee? Treat yourself.

“I usually have a lot going on with school and other activitiess that always keeps me busy,” Onize Ohikere, mass communications major, said. “A good movie and a cup of hot chocolate is enough to cheer me up when I need a break.”

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. It is so important to take care and make sure needs are attended to.

Winter is hard, but there are ways to spread and find cheer in many different places. Sometimes we just need the willingness to look.

Whether or not these methods are backed by science is beside the point. Find what works, stick with it and don’t let the dreary and bitter days of winter get you down.

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