Winter Blues or Seasonal Affect Disorder?

By Mandy Seiner, ’18. 

For college students, a drop in mood and productivity in the colder months may be more than a case of the winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is incredibly common among students in the northeastern region of the United States who face harsh winters. Boston is no exception.

Seasonal Affective Disorder can be considered a form of weather-influenced depression and often causes fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. This can make coursework and social activities more difficult, but luckily there are resources at Emerson to help.

Snowball fight on Boston Common

Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services offers light therapy for 30 minutes blocks of time. To schedule the therapy, students may call ECAPS at 617-824-8595. There students can also have the opportunity to spend time with Rudy, the residential therapy dog, and talk to a counselor. One can also form their own kind of light therapy during the darker days of the year, by acquiring additional lights and lamps for their living spaces and turning them on early in the day. Exercising or going for walks while it’s bright outside can also aid this effort significantly. All students can benefit from a walk around Boston Common, building a snowperson, or skating on Frog Pond (rentals are available).  

Luckily in Boston we have a good number of days that feature bright, often blinding, sunlight! Sometimes it is the short-day blues that come and go, but sometimes it is more serious.  If the darkness and cold weather is affecting one’s life significantly, seek professional help and treatment. 


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