Why The Winter Makes You Sad: How Seasonal Depression Could Be Affecting Your Lifestyle

by Arohie Chopra

Even though it's been a couple of weeks, are you still complaining about Day Light Savings? Are you the only one out of your group of friends whose body is physically rejecting the time change? Are you tired all the time? Are you always on edge and easily irritable? Well sweets, I hate to break it to you, but you might be experiencing seasonal depression.

Seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD (even the name is depressing!), is a fancy way of describing the winter blues. It means that although most of the year you are a happy 'ol chap, you become a sappy wet poodle during the winter months due to the lack of sunshine and constant cold weather. There are many treatments available, such as sunlight simulations and medication, but the fact remains, many Gen-Yers don't even know they are suffering from SAD.

The following are clear-cut signs that you are dealing with seasonal depression. Please be honest with yourself. We have all experienced at least one of these, even me! If you think you might be at risk, seek help immediately. If these symptoms are not treated quickly, they can lead to depression, hopelessness, pessimism and lack of pleasure (*ahem*).

1) Hibernation Mode

Are you constantly cancelling on your family and friends so that you can avoid the cold and make a giant blanket tent or pillow fort instead? I know the idea of cozying up in bed and cuddling up with a mug of hot chocolate sounds so, well, warm, but you can't withdraw from social activities just because it's winter! Go try on that new bold lipstick you bought and take your cute butt out on the town.

2) Summertime Sadness

Do you insist on removing all signs of summer in your immediate surroundings? You've thrown out all your plants and flowers. Those booty shorts and tank tops from summers past are hidden at the bottom of your closet. Did you already change your winter tires, take out your North Face jacket, and are actually wearing your Uggs? Are you planning a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa this weekend?

If not, good, it's only November! It is not fuzzy socks season, yet. Learn how to layer, invest in some stylish sweaters and buy a cute pair of booties, preferably with a heel. You will feel warmer, sexier and won't break a sweat in that winter jacket.

3) Hoarding Supplies

Did you stock up on all the different types of canned foods available at the grocery store in case there was a…what? A snowstorm? Sheesh! Don't be so dramatic. Macaroni and cheese does not provide all the nutrients your body needs to survive until next spring. It is known that people who suffer from seasonal depression usually gain weight in the winter due to overeating. So stay away from the carbs, buy some winter vegetables, and be creative in the kitchen.

4) Snooze Overdose

Okay, so maybe I need to press snooze two (or five) times to wake up in the morning. That doesn't mean I'm suffering from the winter blues, though, does it? If you're experiencing difficulty getting up in the morning, have reached the maximum snoozes allowed on your alarm clock, and your naps last longer than two hours, you might have to invest in this electrifying alarm clock described by Stephen Willard in this Elite Daily post. Eek! That might be a little too stimulating. Instead, I suggest keeping your alarm clock away from your bedside so that you are forced to get out of bed to turn it off.

5) Creatures of The Night

I usually keep all my blinds wide open to let the sunlight wake me up naturally. Yet, since in the winter months it is still pitch dark outside, this system doesn't work. I refuse to turn on my lights early in the morning because it hurts my eyes. We all know the side effects of getting ready in a dark, sleepy stupor. (Read Sean Levinson's article to understand why this is my new favorite Toronto word.)

You walk around like a zombie, brush your teeth, get dressed and eat your breakfast, all in the dark. When you arrive at work, you realize that aside from acquiring a giant bruise from walking into the doorframe, you also forgot to brush your hair, your shirt is inside out, and you're still wearing your slippers. Not your ideal situation. You are not a vampire; turn on the lights! Also, it helps if you decide your outfits the night before.

6) Give Me Wings

Are you exhausted, experiencing lack of enthusiasm, or having difficulty concentrating? Instead of completing your work, do you catch yourself starring at the clock? Have you already tried all of the Christmas drinks at the local coffee shop in hopes of staying awake? Oh boy! It's time to make a schedule, set deadlines and write a daily to-do list.

Winter is not an excuse to fall behind. Ask one of your strict friends to check up on you to make sure you are not slacking. Stay away from caffeine and energy drinks because although they give an instant high, the low that follows will leave you napping on your desk. Drink green tea or a personal favorite, hot water with lemon. Basically drink anything warm that gives a positive energy boost. Also remove all distractions, like cell phones and laptops, from your bedside and try going to sleep earlier in the evening.

Photo credit: We Heart It