Winter Blues: What’s got people down?

Margot C., Staff Writer

After enjoying a long Christmas break, some students have a hard time coming back to school and adjusting to the workload, stress, and athletics.

Research done by Mayo Clinic shows that there are around 3 million cases of seasonal affected disorder or SAD in the US every year.

SAD is a mood disorder that is characterized by depression at occurs at the same time every year.

More research done by Psychology Today found that 10- 20% of Americans suffer from mild SAD.

Often times though, people who have the winter blues don’t have the diagnosed disease of having seasonal depression, and it quite common to feel a little down in the winter time.

For students, one cause of the winter blues could be the significant step up in workload. Many teachers view the start of the second semester as a time to make the curriculum more challenging for their classes, but this can cause stress for students returning from the break because it is difficult to adjust to school life again.

As a result, some students feel as if their grades drop lower than they were in the first semester or lower then they want them to be.

“I notice that in January students seem unmotivated and distracted during class, and oftentimes I see students’ grades drop,” said Carolina Mares, a Spanish teacher.

Not only do the January blues cause stress and the dropping of grades, but they can also cause bad moods.

This feeling can be explained through psychological research done by Professor Ed Watkins.

He said: “Depressed mood is often exacerbated by a perception of a gap between how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. These actual-ideal discrepancies are highlighted at this time of year.”

Along with the bad mood, many students also feel drained.

“I feel tired, and like I want to go home and sleep,” said Sophie W., a seventh grader.

It is easy to be caught up all the celebration and excitement of having no school and spending time with family and friends, but when it’s all over, it can be hard to get back into the routine.

Students can also feel as if they are in a slump in January because of the weather. With long nights and cold days, it is hard to get motivated when all people want to do is curl up in a blanket and watch their favorite show.

“All I want to do is watch YouTube, eat candy and play with my dog, and this helps me to feel better,” said Caroline I., an eighth-grader.

To add to all of the worst parts of January, like the weather and coming back to school, cold and flu season is in full swing at this time of year.

Lawrence M., an eighth grader, describes January as “the Monday of the months.”

Even though January and February feel like they are never ending, there are a few ways that could help people get through them. One way is exercise, which is proven to improve one’s mood because exercise produces endorphins which make people happier.

“To help me get out of my slump, I try to go out and run at least two days in a row, and this helps me to feel more motivated,” said Mrs. Mares.

Another way that could help beat a bad mood is planning a holiday or trip. Even a sleepover with friends is proven to improve one’s spirit because it will give people something to look forward to.

Sunlight is also a great way to help lighten the mood in January. Lack of the sun is one of the common factors of people who experience sadness in the winter months. It would be very beneficial even to spend 10 minutes outside or take a dog for a walk.

The long winter months of January and February cause many to feel sad and unmotivated, but it is important to remember they are not alone in this feeling.

By: Margot C