OPINION: Finding self-peace eases seasonal depression

CN/ Melody Ortiz

By Mariana Montoya

The winter holidays are usually known to be the happiest time of the year.

Christmas trees begin to go up, lights everywhere, presents left and right, radio stations begin to blast jolly music, but it is not always extreme happiness for everyone.

During that time, many struggle with seasonal depression, anxiety and stress from everything that is going on during the winter season.

The holidays can get extremely tense, especially if you have family coming over during each and every festivity.

The multiple energies roaming in the room can certainly bring out the worst in each and every person, leading to those ugly family arguments no one wants to remember.

People might deal with the annual holiday party that can cause an extreme reaction for the various people inside the room forming of a mental block.

Mental health triggers are extremely common.

An article by Good Morning America said, “The idea of the ‘winter blues’ is not just something to be dismissed, experts say.

“It can be a sign of a real medical

condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.”

During the winter, seasonal depression is at its highest. It’’s not a coinidence that there is also a lack of sunlight too.

Families start acquiring debt little by little; however, little by little it becomes a crazy amount that leads to the credit card being maxed.

According to an article by CNBC “Americans racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt each, on average, at the end of 2018, according to MagnifyMoney’s annual post-holiday debt survey.

“On top of that, 28% of shoppers went into the holiday season still paying off debt from 2017.”

Along with debt, the stress and pressure to have everything ready in terms of presents for family or ingredients for that perfect holiday meal, become inevitable.

The key to surviving it all, especially seasonal depression,and the stress of having debt, is to maintain a healthy mindset.

Maintaining a healthy mindset is not easy, but reminding ourselves of something positive that we contribute to society can make a difference in our day-to-day living.

An article in Psychology Today said, “Stopping to give seasonal thanks is a wonderful thing, but what’s even better is practicing gratitude year round.

“In fact, studies show that consistent positive interactions,

particularly ones that involve gratitude, increase happiness and decrease levels of depression.”

Another big tip that can help rise above the pressure is making a list of all the things that matter in order from the most important to the least important.

This will help prioritize and be able to have a focal point.

We live in a society where it is becoming the new norm to talk about mental health issues.

This is very bene cial because itis becoming less of a taboo.

This reminds everyone that it is okay to be vocal about their experiences with seasonal depression or even the kinds of things stress can lead you to.

It also helps create new communities that have the potential of becoming outlets of expressions.

Seasonal depression is very common in college students.

It is no secret that nals equala huge amount of responsibility. Little-to-no sleep causes lots of mental breakdowns.

For this reason, it is importantto nd ways to be able to manage the speci c stress of studying untilmidnight and the uncertainty of whether you passed or failed a class.

An article by Harvard Medical School said, “SAD affects more than just mood. It is also associated with impaired cognitive function, including problems with concentration and working memory,

like having trouble recalling just-learned information or nding theright words when speaking.”

In order to survive seasonal depression and stress as a student, we must be able to have some quality time with ourselves.

This can be interpreted in a variety of ways, for some this means quality time with the family. For others it means planning a day of hiking to reconnect with nature, or spending some alone time reading or journaling.

In reality there is no right answer.Take the time to re ect and ask, how can I nd peace within myself?What does peace look like in mylife? Who can help me achieve the peace I am looking for?

Do not be afraid to take action once you have responded to your answers.

Seasonal depression and stress,speci cally as a student, will notgo away if you choose to simply live with it.

As mentioned, the effects are quite brutal, taking actual tolls in your performance in school.

An article in Norman Rosenthal said, “…as vulnerable students begin to experience fall-winter difficulties, their work piles up and they fall increasingly behind, thereby compounding the problem.”

The blues can also catch on for more personal reasons.

Some claim the season might remind people of their deceased loved ones and the memories associated with the holidays.

There can also be a sense of nostalgia in being able to see family after being away for so long or simply not being able to see them because they are in a different country.

There are also certain activities carried out during this time of the year, like shopping for our loved ones, which can be something that many, including myself, do not actually look forward to.

We all have our individual battles and are unconsciously affected by different degrees of both seasonal depression and stress.

On a personal note, this is the time where I get to see all the long lost cousins I forgot I had and reconnect with my siblings that live far away.

The holiday season, without my brother seems to be prolonging and almost dreadful.

The lights, trees, etc. do not have the same meaning that they did a year ago when I looked forward to the day we would reunite.

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