By: Ashley Asuncion, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
It is the time of year where the days get shorter, and the nights get longer. It is when the weather gets colder, and people prepare for the last few months of the year. For most people, it is cheers to the jolly season of the end of the year. But for college students, it is when the Fall semester gets more challenging. Classes pick up speed along with extracurricular activities, social life, work, and everything else that comes with life as a college student.
Some of you may start experiencing a lack of energy, motivation, or difficulty focusing on school. These are common symptoms of seasonal changes on psychological feelings like mood and behavior. According to Penn State, in “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Winter Blues”, many individuals suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that causes feelings of distress in all aspects of physical and emotional well-being. This is due to increased production of melatonin that affects the biological clock in the brain that controls energy. Symptoms of SAD can include (PennState, n.d.):
- Fatigue/loss of energy
- Lack of sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating/processing information
- Craving sugary/starchy food
Unfortunately, first-year college students are most at risk for these symptoms due to being the first time going through a big adjustment like attending college. The severity in which these symptoms occur depends on coping mechanisms, self-discipline, schedule and physical demands. Therefore, let me help tell you some ways to combat those potentially Winter Blues!
1. Adjust your environment: Surround yourself with more light, plants, brighter colors, and decorations to make the environment comfortable.
2. Maintain warmth, whether drinking a warm drink or bundling up.
3. Exercise! Exercising is most efficient if working out in a manner that is enjoyable to help you maintain the habit.
- There are numerous programs on campus to participate in: workout classes, active clubs, tournaments/competitions, facilitates, trainer programs, etc. Learn more on the UML Campus Recreation website.
4. Try a healthier diet, eating smaller amounts more frequently
- Learn more about dining options on campus using the UML Dining Website, as well as explore the amazing food options around the city of Lowell. Learn new techniques to manage stress: Talk to others and do some research on healthy ways to relieve stress.
5. Ask for help! From a friend, faculty member, online or in-person. UML has numerous resources that can assist to find what best works for you.
- Working with Well-being Leaders would be a great start to find help!
I hope these tips can help you combat the Winter Blues. Feel free to reach out to the Office of Student Life and Well-being if you need any help or want to learn more of what is available to you.