Feeling sad shouldn't be something that comes with a change in seasons. Living in Madison,  I am no stranger to the cold temperatures and darkness that accompany winter. As the days get shorter, and the temperatures continue to drop, I've noticed that instead of going to class and hanging out with friends, I would rather stay in bed and watch Netflix . 

I realized that this is a reoccurring trend with most students around me, and started to question why in the winter everyone is more irritable, tired, less motivated, and craves sugary foods.

I took to the internet and was expecting WebMD to yet again tell me that these symptoms could be a precursor to cancer, but was surprised/relieved to see Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) come up.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The lack of sunlight is the main culprit as to why you may have fallen victim to SAD. Also college freshman are even more likely to get SAD, especially if your home location receives more sunlight than your college location. If there is history of SAD or depression in your family, your chances go up as well. 

Common Symptoms

SAD symptoms include loss of energy, overeating, lack of sex drive, irritability, depression, and craving sugary and starchy foods. If you find yourself checking off on a few of these symptoms, don't worry because you are not alone. SAD affects of 6% the U.S. population and is most commonly found in women college students. 


Luckily, you don't even need to see a doctor to treat most of the symptoms of SAD. Specialists recommend making your environment sunnier and brighter. You can do this by ditching your blinds and absorb the sunlight by sitting near windows, at home and at school.

Medical professionals also recommend getting outside, taking a long walk, eating lunch outside, trying to get outside within the first two hours of getting up.

Regular exercise is also recommended, not only to ameliorate your SAD, but also to treat anxiety, stress, and lift your mood. Increases in Serotonin levels can help also with the effects of SAD.

What to avoid

If you're luckily enough to not have any of the symptoms to SAD and want to keep it that way, then follow these easy steps. Figure out what you love about the winter time, maybe it is a cup of hot chocolate, the Holidays, or ice skating with friends.

The winter doesn't have to be unbearable. Now you can prevent the symptoms or treat them so you can not only survive the winter, but also enjoy it.