Beating the Blues of Seasonal Affective Disorder

January 24, 2024

Rohan Satija is a high schooler from Texas and a passionate advocate for literacy and mental health. At 11 years old, he co-founded Let’s Learn Foundation, an organization that aims to “Empower through Education,” by donating books and school supplies to underprivileged students. In his free time, he loves to read, perform in plays, and spend time with his dog Neo.

This story took place in United States

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As the new year starts, many of us feel a strange excitement at the possibility of achieving new heights and accomplishing our goals. As winter continues, the aroma of hot cocoa fills the air and there’s an undeniable magic in the season. However, for a significant number of us, this period also has a not-so-magical side – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a recurring, seasonal depression. Let’s dive into what SAD is, how common it is among teens, and some creative ways to keep those blues at bay.

So, what exactly is Seasonal Affective Disorder? SAD is a type of depression that occurs seasonally, usually during the colder months when daylight hours are shorter. SAD can also manifest as post-holiday sadness after the New Year. You might think, “Do teens even get SAD?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. SAD can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. 

As a teen, I’ve had encounters with SAD, and I’ve seen friends and people in my life grapple with this difficult condition. This has given me a deeper understanding of its impact, and I’m passionate about helping others find strategies to combat SAD.

Let’s talk about how to spot SAD, its signs, and symptoms! Some common symptoms of SAD to watch out for include fatigue, feeling depressed, social withdrawal, changes in appetite, and issues with sleep. However, SAD is often incorrectly self-diagnosed, so please make sure to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms.

Now that you know what SAD is and how to recognize it, let’s get to how to tackle it. One fantastic way to ease SAD is by engaging in some recreational arts. Painting, theater, or any artistic outlet can be your secret weapon against the winter blues! 

  • Painting – Channel your inner artist and try to paint your feelings onto the canvas. You can represent a difficult situation for you, as art therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, including SAD!
  • Theatre –  Acting can be a fantastic way to boost your mood and self-esteem. Try reading out stories to yourself, or seeing how many fun movie scenes you can replicate! I’m an actor myself, and I have found it greatly improves my well-being and mood, especially in difficult situations. 
  • Nature Walks and Photography –  Sometimes, just walking outside can do wonders. Bring your camera or smartphone along if you want, and snap pictures of beautiful winter scenery around you. This can be a peaceful way to connect with nature.
  • Dance – Whether it’s hip-hop, ballet, or freestyle in your bedroom, moving your body releases much-needed endorphins, which naturally lift your mood. 
  • Music – Try creating playlists with your favorite songs that make you feel happy and energized! Sing along, dance, or even pick up an instrument if you’re musically inclined. 

As a teen passionate about theater and creativity, I can attest to the therapeutic power of these activities.  Remember that these are not medical treatments for SAD, just ways to keep yourself feeling relaxed and happy! There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to SAD; the key is to find an activity you enjoy and stick with it. What works for one person might not work for another, so it is important to identify something that resonates with you.

As we welcome the New Year, let’s also embrace the tools to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Remember, you are not alone in this; If you suspect you have SAD, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.  Additionally, whether you’re painting, acting, dancing, or taking a walk in nature, remember that creativity can be a powerful ally in the fight against SAD!



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