Ward off the Winter Blues
Ward off the Winter Blues
In Northern parts of the United States, as winter’s cold settles in, cloudy days pile up and hours of sunlight decline, many normally well-adjusted people experience the form of mild depression known as “winter blues.” English essayist Joseph Addison noted it centuries ago, saying, “A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most recent blessings or misfortunes.”
Winter blues — also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — can trigger anxiety, sadness, fatigue, overeating (especially carbohydrates), loss of motivation and poor concentration. According to one research study, SAD affects from 1.5 percent to 9 percent of U.S. adults, the majority of them women.
What to Do If You Think Your Student Is Suffering from Winter Blues
When students just don’t sound like themselves in wintertime, ask if they’re feeling the symptoms noted above. Then, if it sounds like that’s the problem, don’t panic. Many people respond well to simple therapies like spending more time in the sun or using light boxes, getting more exercise, eating healthier and getting more sleep. (The Mayo Clinic provides in-depth information about the disorder, as well as an excellent roundup of treatments.) When that’s not enough, short-term use of an antidepressant (prescribed and supervised by a health care provider) can make the difference. The best news: the problem usually resolves itself when the stronger sunlight of spring and summer arrives.
Let the Sunshine In
Pace has plenty of on-campus resources that can help students fight winter blues, starting with the health, fitness, and recreation centers on our New York City and Westchester campuses.
- New York City students have full access to the campus’ Civic Center Gym at One Pace Plaza, which includes a cardio and weight room and full-size basketball courts for pick-up games or intramural basketball. Some residence halls also offer complimentary passes to students for nearby gyms and fitness centers.
- In Westchester, the Goldstein Health, Fitness, and Recreation Center offers three basketball courts, a running track, a full fitness center with cardio machines and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, along with a full range of fitness courses, from Japanese swordsmanship to yoga.
Meditation rooms are also available on both campuses in the Multipurpose Room at One Pace Plaza in NYC and the Center for Spiritual Development in Pleasantville.
For students with a more serious case of the blues, we recommend a visit to the Pace Counseling Centers on our New York City and Westchester campuses. Go here to learn more.
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley