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Beating the winter blues: How to fend off Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the holiday season steadily approaches and winter weather makes its appearance, many people look forward to successfully planning for the new year ahead.  However, as this new season arrives, it tends to bring its own set of challenges, and rears its ugly head in the form of a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder – a mood disorder associated with seasonal changes, particularly during the winter months.   

According to research from the Mayo Clinic, college students between the ages of 18-35 tend to be at the highest risk for SAD, and often experience symptoms such as lack of motivation, problems with sleep, weight and appetite changes, as well as difficulty concentrating.  The study further found that SAD tends to be a result of decreased light during the winter months which causes a decrease in serotonin in the brain which is responsible for controlling mood.  Therefore, they suggest taking necessary precautions by seeing a physician when conditions seem to worsen.  However, they also note a list of suggested tips to consider helping mitigate the situation.  

For college students in particular, they suggest adding more light to your dorm room or apartment, and this will help brighten the mood in the often-small space.  Purchasing an alarm clock that gradually wakes you up with the semblance of light. Next, it is important to exercise during the brightest part of the day.  Moreover, planning social outings with friends tends to increase motivation the study said. 

Finally, it is important to reach out to a local crisis line in the community if the situation begins to worsen despite the practice of these tips and tricks.

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