Winter SAD affects Doane community

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SAD pic

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), often referred to as seasonal depression, begins during the fall and winter months and improves around springtime. 

Crete students were sent a survey on SAD that inquired about their personal experiences and knowledge of the disorder. 

46.2 percent of students that responded to the survey said they knew someone who has dealt with SAD before. 

65.4 percent of students that responded said that changes in weather have affected their mood. 

Changes in the weather have been proven to create mood changes and physical symptoms.  

Senior Christian Stacey said he has never verified whether or not he suffers from SAD from a professional but that he deals with emotional changes once the weather becomes colder. 

“I have noticed that during the winter months I feel more stressed and it gets a lot harder to motivate myself,” Stacey said. 

Similar to depression, SAD can cause lack of energy, trouble focusing, change in sleep and appetite, along with feelings of sadness, hopelessness and more.

SAD is much more common than people tend to believe. Symptoms may be minor to severe depending on the person. 

Senior Hunter Sieckmeyer said he deals with mood changes as it begins to get colder and he spends less time outside. 

“Sometimes I just will myself to do something for the sake of getting out of my room,” Sieckmeyer said. “Sometimes that’s just not possible though, so I end up making a comfortable space for myself: Blankets, snacks, video games, put on a TV show or something.”

As for Stacey, he said he attempts to find something to distract himself when he begins to feel stressed. Going out with friends or playing video games for a while helps him to feel better. 

Most students who answered the survey saying they experience changes in mood and motivation during the colder months had not been formally diagnosed with SAD.

“Just being aware that it’s there has helped tremendously in dealing with it,” senior Maria Wendt said. “My advice is to be kind to yourself but not easy on yourself.”

For other students, staff and faculty on campus Stacey said “take time to get away from campus, or at least from your academic work. Take a drive off campus or go out with friends. Or if you can’t do that, find something you can dive into like a book or a game.”

“Talk to [counselors] Myron or Krystal on campus if you need to. They are friendly, useful and don’t charge a dime you aren’t already paying.” Sieckmeyer said. “Also, try your best not to compare yourself to others too much.”