By MARK LORENTZ
It might be the cold weather, the lack of sunlight or the crash after the holiday season. Whatever the reason may be, seasonal affective disorder is more common than one might think.
Fighting off depression varies from person to person. However, below are some of the ways you can beat the wintertime blues. Conestoga’s Counselling Services also provide’s professional help, and is a free service to all students.
As assignments pile up and deadlines fast approach one of the easiest ways to relieve stress is to take an hour just for yourself. “Students tend to have a habit of leaving things to the last minute. Even if an assignment is due tomorrow, take an hour for yourself, and then get back to finishing it,” said Sharon Wedderbourn, who works at the Counselling Services office.
Having friends over for a cheap movie night is something Wedderbourn also suggests, as a distraction to the ensuing blizzards and cold spells that come with Canadian winters. “People don’t need to spend a lot of money for a relaxing night in or out. Have friends pick up snacks from the dollar store and invite them over for a movie marathon.”
If you want to get out of your house, going to the gym or for a brisk walk around the neighbourhood can change your mood. There are several explanations as to why exercise helps combat depression, some chemical, others behavioural. The mental benefits of exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol. It also increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
“Setting goals for yourself at the gym is important,” said Chris Chard, a personal trainer at World Gym. “Set a timeline but don’t worry too much if you miss it, just having a goal set is crucial for self-esteem and a reason to work at it.”
If you find going to a gym too intimidating, find some sort of physical activity that you do enjoy, or hate the least, to get active and make a routine out of it weekly. That way it becomes a habit, which is harder to break and you stay motivated.
And last but not least, the long line at Tim Hortons on campus might be worth it after all. A recent study conducted by the American Nurses Association concluded that people who drink between 2-4 cups of coffee a day were at a 20 per cent lower risk of developing depression.
Those seeking more information on depression or any other private issue, can book an appointment by going into Counselling Services located in Room 1A101 at Doon campus, or by phoning them at 519-748-5220, ext. 3360.