Seasonal Sadness

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“Many students struggle with seasonal depression, and it can begin to affect schoolwork.” (Photo courtesy of Pinterest, Photo credits Sofi Cuest).

Depression is a very real issue among teens and adults that can be triggered in specific seasons.  These seasons tend to include the holidays and winter months. Even though people may be struggling emotionally, their responsibilities as  a student, coworker, or even a parent do not diminish. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) is a disorder that affects teens and adults. It is when someone experiences being depressed during a certain time of the year. This disorder is defined as a Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern.  Mostly, individuals face this depression during the winter seasons, but some face it in the spring as well. The winter seasons would include anytime between November and February, and the Spring seasons would include April to June.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is one of the four major types of depressive disorders. 

“It seems like a lot of people are more stressed out around Christmas time because of grades and finals for certain classes. Stress would be one of the biggest things that I see come up around Christmas time along with some depression if people don’t get the kind of grades they were hoping for, but that affects some people a lot more than others,” said junior Brendon Maness.

Students often struggle with seasonal depression. This depression can affect their motivation to do schoolwork and complete assignments on time. Some other symptoms that students face are anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness. When experiencing seasonal depression during the winter, students already have midterms or finals, which can cause more stress. In winter and spring, months, people face SAD because of the added stress of holidays and the days being shorter and darker. This depression can lead to a loss of interest in school with the added stress of the holidays. 

“Some differences that could be made to benefit mental health in the school system is giving the student a break from constant work,” said sophomore Grace Duchan. 

The school system needs to recognize that seasonal depression is real in students’ lives. Many students have 7-8 classes a day or per week with many hours of homework. Due to the disorder, students often struggle to have motivation for these assignments because of the stress of having so many of them. During winter seasons, it could be helpful to students if teachers were to work together to make sure students do not have too many assignments. Educators could also inform themselves of the symptoms and signs of seasonal depression to better their understanding of what is going on with their students and how to help them. They can also suggest 504 plans for students to have accommodations for their condition. These accommodations can include extended time on projects, extensions on tests and modified assignments. Teachers’ must acknowledge the idea that students have more than one class and may suffer from seasonal depression. 

“I can prepare myself during the winter by making sure that I am prepared for midterms and keep up with my work,” said junior Aubrey Anderson.

Students can cope with their seasonal depression by staying on-top of it.Students can keep a schedule of due dates and study ahead of time. If students stay ahead of their work, they don’t have to worry about it making much of an impact on their grades. This can be beneficial to students and teachers. This gives students a ‘break’ and teachers an extended grading period. Seasonal depression is a tough battle to fight, but it takes a village to understand and cope with its effects. 

“I think the best way to cope with seasonal depression is to slow down a bit,” added Duchan.