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According to the American Psychiatric Association, 5% of adults suffer from seasonal depression, and it typically lasts for nearly half of the year. Despite these statistics, I find that many of my friends face seasonal depression every winter when switching out of Daylight Savings time. They feel shrouded by the early sunsets and suffocated by the harsh temperatures, losing sleep because teachers pile on homework and the days are so much shorter. It can be difficult to find light in this darkness, but it does exist. 

Winter is an amazing time to give back. While it’s always nice to sit by a fire or sip warm cocoa, there are lots of people who aren’t able to. There are hundreds of non-profit organizations that are looking for donations like coats, blankets, toiletries, and food. By donating old belongings that don’t see much use anymore, you could make a world of difference to someone who doesn’t have the same resources. It’s not only beneficial to others to participate in these sorts of events, but it is also so fulfilling, which is always a positive during this time of year. 

Heading into the winter is a tough transition, and the December break is much needed. The extensive time at home can be difficult to fill, but remember that your mind and body are allowed to have a break. Using the time at home to relax and watch some movies or catch up on missed school work are both acceptable ways of spending the break. Whatever you need, use the week off to do whatever best suits you! It may feel like you’re being “lazy” or underproductive, but emotional and physical rest is just as important as productivity. 

Sometimes, we think we’re resting when really our minds are running a million miles a minute, subconsciously stressing about things we’re missing or didn’t do as well as we hoped. In truth, this completely takes away from the rest. Instead, we are left feeling drained and unmotivated. Allow yourself the freedom to relax because you deserve it! This way, you can be recharged for the rest of winter in the new year.

Maintaining motivation is personally the hardest part of winter for me. The days end earlier and the bitter weather makes me want to lay in bed all day. While this is fine in moderation, I try to focus on establishing a balance between resting and my hobbies. To begin with, I work to keep up with my schoolwork by allocating specific amounts of time to it each day while being careful not to overwhelm myself. I also make sure I have time to read or watch parts of a movie before going to bed to give myself something to look forward to. Hanging out with my friends is also a huge contributor to my winter happiness. We love to get ice cream or make gingerbread houses together, but the possibilities are endless. 

Finding joy in little things is what truly gets me through, and making sure to prioritize your own interests as well as school work or a job allows this! It’s always about balance, and winter doesn’t have to be as dark as the sky gets. Try to look for the light, even when the sun goes down before dinnertime.