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Seasonal Affective Disorder – October Wellness Committee Article

October 26, 2016

This is the first of a monthly series produced by the Wellness Committee here at Finlandia University. For a full archive of Wellness Committee articles go to http://www.finlandia.edu/news/tag/wellness-committee/. This was produced by Katie Curtis.  

The Upper Peninsula’s winters are long and dark. With the leaves changing color outside, it is appropriate to begin preparing for the winter ahead. Many individuals in northern climates struggle with mood changes
along with the impending darkness. A condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is prevalent.

snowshoes-on-snow-at-finlandiaSAD is a type of depression that include symptoms such as very low energy, oversleeping, inability to focus, craving carbohydrates, depressed mood, feeling hopeless, and having suicidal thoughts. This disorder makes it very difficult to function. With students, it may impair the ability to attend class regularly or complete homework. With employees it may interfere with work functioning, including showing up for work.

The Finlandia University Wellness Committee is encouraging everyone on campus to take a proactive approach to the upcoming winter before the cold and darkness set in. Some ways to resist the winter blues and SAD include the following.

Exercise

Take advantage of the Paavo Nurmi Strength Center center on campus. It is an updated facility available to all staff and students. Learn more about the Paavo Nurmi Center at fulions.com.

Check out local winter outdoor activities. There are opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating at various locations around town.

Light Therapy and Vitamin D

Daylight hours are very short in the winter and people begin lacking natural light. Using light therapy can help elevate the mood and ease symptoms of SAD. Some individuals on the Wellness Committee use full spectrum lights and are willing to set up a time with you if you want to try it out.

Stephanie Kajpust
411 Mannerheim
stephanie.kajpust@finlandia.edu

Katie Curtis
111 Mannerheim
katie.curtis@finlandia.edu

Vitamin D levels can additionally drop in the winter due to lack of sunlight. This vitamin has many important functions in the body.

Please consult a health care professional prior to beginning any supplements or therapies.

Socialize and Engage to avoid seasonal Affective Disorder

Socializing during the winter is important. It is cold and people often feeling like staying in. Engaging on campus can help combat feelings of isolation that are associated with SAD. The following links will connect you to ways you can continue to engage on campus during the winter months.

Support the athletic teams during contests www.fulions.com

Join or start a club on campus www.finlandia.edu/student-affairs/clubs-and-organizations/

Utilize Campus Resources

Even with taking a proactive approach, some people may still find themselves affected by SAD. There are many resources available on campus to help when students or employees are distressed.

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