Around this time of year, you may feel yourself start to slip into an increased state of irritability or sadness when the weather gets cold. Many people notice a change in their personal well-being towards the end of the year, and recently I've heard talk all over the campus of "seasonal depression."
This phenomenon is actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD... I know, ironic), and you guessed it, it's directly linked to changes in the seasons. According to Mayo Clinic, most people with SAD start to experience symptoms in the fall and they continue on into the winter months. These symptoms include a huge decrease in energy levels, moodiness, change in sleeping patterns and appetite, and loss of interest in regular routine activities.
As I said, I've heard countless friends and students on campus speaking about their experiences with seasonal depression. It's especially common with college students, who are bogged down with the stress of exams and end-of-semester work at this time of the school year. Although SAD only affects 4-6% of Americans, I can see many examples of symptoms within my peers.
Personally, I could see how easy it is to fall victim to dealing with SAD because I notice a complete change in my demeanor when the seasons turn. This school year has been especially hard, with school work and extracurriculars and a job - I noticed myself sleeping way more than usual and having less energy and motivation than I tend to have. I don't necessarily think it's severe enough to go see a doctor, because the feelings usually go away after a few days
Once I get past the end of this semester and have some time to breathe, I think I will feel a giant weight off my shoulders. Unfortunately for those suffering from SAD, sometimes it's not that easy; after all the holiday festivities fade away, they're left with the cold and dreary background of the winter. There are ways to lessen the impact of SAD though: light therapy, meditation and yoga, essential oils, outdoor activities, and socializing with friends all help to contribute to making you feel better.
If you think you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, please go see a doctor or a mental health professional.