Every year, the winter season brings with it a sense of gloom and dreariness. Days get shorter and nights get longer, trees are left barren and the city is covered with a sheet of stark white snow. This season leads to a downturn of emotions for some and many people are overcome with feelings of sadness and despair.
Quite often, it is difficult for people to pinpoint exactly why they are feeling depressed and they feel like they are the only ones going through this. These feelings are quite common and many people experience them. In fact, scientists have even put a name to this condition: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center in Minnesota, “Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons.”
This week, the Psychology Association of Undergraduate Students of Erindale (PAUSE) held their Health and Wellness Fair. During this event, their main aim was to educate students on SAD.
Held in the CCT atrium, various members of PAUSE showed up to table for different activities. One table was dedicated to arts and crafts, coloring, and cookie decorating activities to provide students with the opportunity to spare a few minutes out of their hectic schedules and de-stress. Another table was dedicated to providing students with goodie bags and hot chocolate, and the last table was adorned with multiple dishes of food.
Arianna Hoard, the events assistant for PAUSE, managed the educational table and took the time to further explain what SAD actually is. “SAD is seasonal depression. Due to the lack of sunlight, our body’s internal clock gets a little bit messed up so we end up feeling a little sadder, more tired and don’t have the motivation to carry out activities. We’re generally not as great as we should be,” she says. Fortunately, SAD isn’t as severe as Chronic Depression, but it is just as important to talk about. Students may be more susceptible to this condition since exam season often falls during peak winter time, so it’s important to conduct activities that benefit the emotional and mental well-being of students. According to Hoard, a lot of students, especially the international ones, feel abnormal for experiencing such feelings and putting a name to these emotions can validate them and make them more real and acceptable.
Numrita Ramanand, a fourth-year Interactive Digital Media student, was one of the attendees of the event. “I know SAD is the changing of moods and feelings during seasons due to a lack of vitamin D from sunlight, but that’s all I know so that’s why I decided to stop by at this event on my way to class.”
Ramanand thinks it’s important to talk about such things on campus because they are prevalent. Having gone through similar feelings, she believes that it’s important to know the facts about certain conditions instead of self-diagnosing. “Feeling sad is something a lot of people joke around about, but for some people it can be really serious. They aren’t able to get out of it, or they don’t know it can be treated as well, so it’s important to mention.”