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It’s that time of year again. The leaves are finding their way to the ground, the days are growing shorter and darker. It’s almost winter.
Don’t be fooled, however. Not all is merry and bright. For those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as seasonal depression, winter may be their definition of hell.
Sure, everyone is prone to feeling a little blue around the holidays, but people with seasonal depression can expect to experience a loss of energy as well as moodiness. In extreme cases, people feel hopeless, even suicidal.
Part of staying happy and healthy year-round is being active, which can be extremely difficult during colder seasons. Many people argue that there are plenty of ways to keep active during the winter. However, activities such as snowboarding, skiing or getting a gym membership all require one thing: money.
Skiing and snowboarding are especially pricey. The cost for a lift ticket alone is at least $45 in Colorado. This doesn’t take into account the price of gas to get to the resort, or the price of renting or buying skis. Basically, you have to have money to stay active during cold months, a luxury that not all college students can afford.
Furthermore, as the temperature decreases, the college workload starts to increase. Students are not always able to keep up, sometimes resulting in feelings of hopelessness. Ten to 20 percent of people have at least a mild form of SAD. When it comes to college-aged students, not many studies have been done to see how many suffer from seasonal depression. One study, however, did find that by the time they are a senior in high school, one in 20 kids suffer from the complete form of SAD.
Likewise, people are more likely to get sick in winter — meaning that they are likely to spend more time inside and isolated from other people, only making the situation worse. People with seasonal depression are often encouraged to try to maintain a healthy social life and surround themselves with people that make them feel better, but that is difficult when you’re sick and no one wants to run the risk of becoming infected.
Perhaps the worst part of winter is the fact that it’s so dark. Sometimes, all you need to feel more alive is a little bit of sunshine. However, in the winter that little bit can be hard to come by with the days being shorter. A lot of people with SAD resort to light therapy in attempt to lift their spirits. Even if you are lucky enough to live in a place like Colorado that gets an average of 300 days of sunshine yearly, that fact is that we are still receiving less hours of sunlight in winter compared to other seasons.
So, for everyone reading this is wondering how they are going to get through the winter, knowing that it’s the worst time of year, just remember the sun will be back. And I’ll be right there with you singing “Here Comes the Sun.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Libby O’Neall at firstname.lastname@example.org.