Ahh. It's finally summertime. Eighty-degree weather. Sunshine. Swimming pools. Outdoor activities. It's heavenly. The truth is, you don't really realize how good something feels until you're deprived of it for 6 months. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Chicago. You really f**ked us over this year with your polar vortex, perpetual darkness, and snow in the middle of April.
I've never really been one to be severely affected by seasonal depression, but this year was different. It's more than just "being in a rut" or "hating the cold on your skin," it can take a huge toll on your entire being. For me, it started by staying inside during snowstorms for days, not breathing fresh air for long periods of time.
The Mayo Clinic claims this is a common symptom, along with "fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal."
It then worsened overtime to sleeping nearly the whole day, skipping a few classes, crying lots of tears, and more sleeping to try and clear my mind. The biggest factor in seasonal depression is most apparent in a lack of energy, and boy did I feel it. Though I was sleeping roughly 12 hours a day, I remained exhausted and had no motivation to do anything or go anywhere. Still, the worst part was that I didn't understand what was happening.
I wish I had known what was happening before it took over my entire winter season. I had seen Vitamin D lamps or SAD box lamps on the market before, but thought they were a load of B.S. I mean, how could sitting under a lightbulb a few times a week change your mood? Apparently, a lot. Under the reviews of several light therapy lamps, consumers were shocked on how much their attitudes improved with the product saying, "I really think this gives me more clarity and energy in the AM" and "I love it. It makes dreary days bearable." Well, I know my next purchase!
As we're hitting the middle of June, I will be taking advantage of all the sunshine and warm breezes I can get. If this winter has taught me anything, it's that it is very important to a) prioritize your mental health and b) listen to your body. If I had known, beforehand, how the cold weather would impact my life, I would have taken more precautions and been a bit more prepared. I encourage everyone to find what works for you and to put yourself and your health first. You only get one body and one brain, be kind to them.