Nadia Angel has written an informative piece on a depressive disorder that many people may suffer from but not actually know about.
Do you feel like you’re in a constant low mood during the autumn/winter seasons? Do you find yourself sleeping for longer than normal? It may just be a coincidence, it may be the start of a new term after the gorgeous holidays. Or your mum might be right and you’re just lazy.
However, you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD has shown symptoms in around 29% of adults within the UK. Common symptoms include low energy levels, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. More than half of adults say they feel a connection between their wellbeing and the weather. It’s possible it may be affecting you.
PHD student Astrid Martinez-Cedillo, focuses on cognitive interactions and stimulations, in particular relation to one’s eyes. Having worked briefly in a psychiatric ward in Mexico, Astrid explained how mental health is still a difficult and yet prevalent topic; “mental health is as simple as physical health, but we don’t care about it”.
Astrid noted how it is more common for females to suffer from SAD; “depression is not only the most common women’s mental health problem but may be more persistent in women than men.” Although there is also the consideration that women are more likely to report mental health issues, therefore there are more female-orientated cases.
There’s still is a lot of negative stigma, as there are for many mental health conditions, that people are just lazy. People unable to complete tasks due to mental health and find it physically difficult, sometimes painful, whereas someone that is lazy deem everything hard work. Using yesterday’s bowl for more cereal because you can’t be bothered to wash it (yes I am on to you), is true laziness!
Some ways of personally aiding your general mood during these chilly times include;
- Get as much natural sunlight as possible.
I know it’s cold or you may have no 9ams, so you’re tempted to lie into the late afternoon, but open the shades and get some sunlight. The bright environments will help lift your overall mood after the initial self-hatred of being in the cold!
- Get some exercise in.
Not only can exercise help reduce symptoms but it can also help weight control, another common symptom of SAD during the autumn/winter months.
- Vitamin D Supplements.
Relatively inexpensive (always nice to hear as a student) and shown to have a general help on those who suffer with SAD.
These self-serving tips can be of aid. Nonetheless if you feel as though you are experiencing intense symptoms that are completely affecting your day-to-day functioning, then do get in contact with your GP or local health services in order to get properly evaluated and offered the relevant medication.
Some useful University Essex contacts include:
Student Wellbeing support line; T: 0800 970 5020
Health centre; T: 01206 794484 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Essex Nightline; T:01206 872020
Or read our piece on mental health tips for students.