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Maja Lie

December 1st, 2021

Staying Happy during SAD Season

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Maja Lie

December 1st, 2021

Staying Happy during SAD Season

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

As we enter December and the temperature continues to drop, the sun is setting earlier and earlier. I still can’t get used to going into a 3 PM class when it’s still light out and coming out of it an hour later with a pitch-black sky. SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a type of depression which becomes more apparent with cold weather and the winter season. While I am not qualified to self-diagnose, I can say that the shorter daylight hours do affect my mood. For example, I tend to feel more lethargic and have a harder time concentrating, and getting myself to campus in Michaelmas Term takes more effort than it does in Lent Term.

Over time, I’ve learned how to manage the change the weather brings about in my mental state. Please do note that SAD affects people to varying degrees, and should your symptoms severely affect your daily life, you should consult a professional. This post is merely to suggest a few things you can easily add into your routine to brighten your days as they get shorter.

 

The first thing I would recommend is trying to maximise your sunlight hours. So, try to wake up when the sun rises and spend as much time as possible exposed to some natural light. This will boost your productivity and stave off any feelings of laziness. If you can, you should also start off your day with some physical activity to boost your motivation for the rest of the day and naturally improve your mood. Yoga is a great way to gently kickstart your day, relieving you of stress and stretching your body so that sitting at a desk won’t feel as stiff. While you study, you should try to do so near a window so you have exposure to daylight. The library has some spaces where you can sit by a window, but the Centre Building probably has the best exposure to sunlight given that it’s mostly windows.

LSE Square in front of the Centre Building

 

Another suggestion is to temporarily create your own sun: buy a SAD lamp and increase your Vitamin D intake to compensate for the natural Vitamin D you get from the sun. SAD lamps are often used by people who live in places that have overcast weather frequently, and London is a perfect candidate for this. Set your SAD lamp up next to you if you’re studying from home or for a few minutes in the morning.

 

Finally, make the early sunsets a positive thing. By now, London is fully lit up with Christmas displays, so take a walk and enjoy all the lights. This will give you a break from studying so you can refocus your energy while also taking advantage of your environment. I highly recommend doing a long loop, starting from campus and going down the Strand to Trafalgar Square, then circling towards Covent Garden via St. Martin’s Lane. The giant Christmas tree and imitation snow which creates a mini winter wonderland every hour is a must see. Another option is to bundle up and go to Primrose Hill to see the skyline and some constellations (if the sky is clear enough).

 

However you decide to shine a positive light on things, it’s important to take care of yourself. Sunlight affects your mental health, so if you’re not getting enough, you need to ensure you’re maintaining your mental health in other ways. And remember, it doesn’t last forever. The days start getting longer again after December 21!

About the author

Maja Lie

I am both an alum and a current student at the LSE having studied Mathematics with Economics for my undergraduate degree and continuing to study Applicable Mathematics as a postgrad. I love learning languages, whether spoken or programmed, and am addicted to traveling. I am also not-so-secretly a huge nerd and Marvel fan.

Posted In: Student life

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