I go to college and have grown up in an area where, during the winter months, the sun is often hidden by clouds making the sky seem gray for weeks on end. Often, it feels like spring and those precious summer months will never come. I feel this way most fervently when shoveling a foot of snow off of my car that I had only left untouched for a few hours. Needless to say, the winter months can certainly get me and everyone else in the area down.

Jump forward to this weekend in mid-February, the sun is out and it is unseasonably warm outside, reaching the upper sixties at some points of the day. Stepping outside into the sunlight for what seemed like the first time in years, and actually feeling its heat was a treat to say the least. My roommates and I all marvelled about how much our moods had been lifted, and how much more energized we felt. All of this simply because the weather was nicer. It encouraged us to be more active, going outside and hiking, and overall improved our days.

Now, A lot of people can call this the "Winter Blues" or a seasonal funk but it might not necessarily be the case. If you begin to feel extremely down during the winter months, or just feel lethargic and sluggish you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, literally shortened to SAD. This is a psychological disorder related to depression that that has symptoms that occur in certain seasons, more specifically in winter. These symptoms include irritability, tiredness, weight gain, hypersensitivity, low energy, and oversleeping. If all of these sound familiar, it might be best not to just chock up your feelings to the weather, but to get some form of treatment, so the winter months won't be so dreaded.

Here is a link below if you feel especially down in the winter months that gives more information on the disorder: https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.seasonal...

Whether dealing with SAD, or if you simply wish for sunlight in the winter months, there are a few options that can improve your mood in the winter. Light therapy is an option in which you can buy a light therapy lamp that shines bright light that mimics the outdoor sunlight. These stimulate natural circadian rhythms and help the body feel more regulated. Other more simple options could include exercising more frequently in winter months, as well as stepping outside for walks on clearer winter days. Taking a vacation to someplace warmer could also be beneficial, especially for those living in areas like where I am from. Finally, Vitamin D, which is absorbed through the skin when exposed to the sun is necessary to feel regulated. Taking supplements of Vitamin D could help improve how your body feels and in turn your mood in winter months.

As we continue to wait for spring to officially arrive, keep in mind these tips in order to combat the negativity that may come along with the winter months.