The Winter Blues

The Winter Blues, also referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, are┬ávery common. Many of us experience a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. This may be due to the reduction in the amount of daylight a person receives. You may find yourself feeling more lethargic and down overall. Although you may feel more gloomy than usual, the winter blues typically don’t affect your ability to enjoy life. The changes in lifestyle and increase of stress due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may increase your feelings of fatigue and malaise and leave us feeling extra “stuck” this winter.

Common Symptoms

  • A drop in energy level
  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Hypersomnia or a tendency to oversleep
  • A change in appetite especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods
  • Weight gain
  • A heavy feeling in the arms or legs
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Increased sensitivity to social rejection
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation and anxiety

If you or someone you know has ongoing thoughts of death or suicide, please call our 24/7 on-call licensed mental health professional at 833.646.1526, call Campus Safety at 269.337.7321, or call 911.

Coping With The Winter Blues

  • Light Therapy: Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, replaces the diminished sunshine in the fall and winter months. When on campus, come bask in the ” happy lights” located in the waiting rooms of the Counseling Center, Student Health Center, and Student Development office. There are many affordable ” happy light” options online. If you want to buy your own check out this article on considerations for choosing a light therapy box . Learn more about getting the most out of light therapy
  • Vitamin D Supplement: Your vitamin D levels could be low due to insufficient dietary intake or insufficient exposure to sunshine.
  • Nutrition: Eating foods that are mood boosting and energizing may help combat the toll the Winter Blues can take on your body. Some of these foods include Brazil nuts, dark chocolate, lentils, spinach, flax seed, and quinoa.
  • Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which means increased energy, better sleep, and feelings of positivity. Check out The Virtual Community Center’s Wellness Wednesday Channel: Movement and The Mind recording with Fitness and Wellness Center Director, Jennifer Bailey for information on the benefits of exercise. (P.S. there are many other Wellness Wednesday topics featuring mental wellness and K students.)
  • Spend Time Outside: Spending time outside benefits your physical and mental health, increases concentration, creativity, and boosts mood.
  • Stress Relief: Find activities that help you increase the mind, body connection, and help you decompress. Some stress relief activities include, dance, yoga, meditation, spending time with animals, outdoors, cooking, and listening to music.
  • Talk to Someone: Reaching out to others is a strength! If you are feeling down reach out to friends or family and consider scheduling an appointment with the Counseling Center.

Guided Meditation Videos

Guided Meditation for Seasonal Affective Disorder
20 Minute Morning Qi Gong Exercise for Energy, Movement, and Stress Relief