How To Deal With The Winter Blues

I love Christmas, I really do. I love staying in my warm bed and watching Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate. I love listening to classic Christmas songs, attending holiday events and shows, decorating my Christmas tree at home, Christmas shopping, spending time with my family, and more. It pretty much goes without saying that this is everyone's favorite time of the year.

However, every year, after summer is over and we quickly approach the windy fall months, I've always noticed my mood and overall motivation beginning to change subtly. I think fall is beautiful with the changing colors of the leaves, but I don't appreciate its beauty enough because I know that winter is coming, and for some reason, I just can't stand that season.

I literally dread whenever the year ends because I don't want to have to go through those long four months. If you live in New York, you would know that winter drags on longer than it should.

I hate the fact that it gets dark as early as 4:30 p.m. now.

I need the sun to be productive, I need there to be light. As it gets dark early, it makes me feel like the days are too short, time is moving way too fast, and I haven't been productive. I feel like this almost every day when going to classes during the winter, and it's a terrible feeling.

I also hate the fact that it's constantly cloudy and the trees are bare and have lost their colorful leaves. I only truly see the beauty of winter in pictures on the Internet, with clean blankets of snow on the ground and perfectly resting on tree branches, but in reality, there are just piles of dirty snow and slushes on the sidewalks of New York City.

Recently realizing how I have these negative perspectives during winter, I googled why I feel this way, and if this is a common feeling amongst other people my age. I ended up learning about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is an underrated type of depression where one experiences an uncontrollable lack of motivation due to the lack of sunlight, excessive darkness, and colder temperatures.

I'm not too entirely sure if I truly have this type of depression, because the symptoms seem serious where medical attention is required, such as the tendency to sleep in more and eat more, feeling a loss for interests and hobbies, and having consistent feelings of guilt/worthlessness.

What I do know is that this year, I don't want this season to completely affect my mental health, my relationships with friends and family, and how I act on a daily basis. There are many ways I can fight these winter blues just by remembering to continue to do what I love doing most, regardless of the weather, and focusing on lifting up my spirits.

Craving sunlight, I can make my environment brighter and my days seem longer by waking up slightly earlier and doing work near a window. I can exercise, meditate, listen to upbeat Christmas music some more, and spend more time with close friends.

Winter is tough. If you're currently experiencing these winter blues despite being excited for the holidays, like me, just remember that this season is always temporary, and will come and go before we know it.

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