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Stay active to beat the winter blues

By Michelle Lindsey
On January 26, 2017

Students workout at the Rec Center on Jan. 19.
Photo by Jack Soukup.

 

College students face a lot of stressors on a day-to-day basis. Students worry about everything from grades, graduation and relationships to what club to participate in next. 

All of these stressors can add up and create a depressive environment, especially when there are long winter days ahead. Some students experience depression without even realizing that’s what it is. 

According to collegiateparent.com, some symptoms of the winter blues may include, “change in mood, increased feelings of lethargy, difficulty waking up in the morning or sleep difficulties, difficulty concentrating and thinking creatively in comparison to the summer months,  difficulty performing tasks that normally would be easy/enjoyable, increased cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods like chocolate and sodas, agitated, cranky, dissatisfied with previously tolerated activities or experiences, and suicidal ideas, thoughts or feelings.”

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, the creator of the term Seasonal Affective Disorder offers advice to students who think they may have SAD, or the Winter Blues, on his website, normanrosenthal.com. 

He stated, “Recognize the problem, take SAD seriously, bring more light into your home, put your bedside lamp on a timer, exercise, preferably combined with light,  stay active socially, if you find that despite all your best efforts, you are falling behind in your work, or that your health is suffering physically or emotionally, seek out professional help.” 

There are many things that students can do to help combat these symptoms. John Loftus, Kirkwood Liberal Arts student, said in order to combat the winter blues, he “hangs out with friends and plans out activities for the spring and summer breaks.”

Even with busy schedules and planned events, some students may still struggle with depression and other mental health issues. 

Active Minds students and advisors are hosting This is My Brave - The Show on the Cedar Rapids campus in an effort to raise awareness of mental health issues and depression, as well as work toward reducing the stigma associated with living with a mental illness. 

While the show is being performed live April 22, students and community members are already submitting their stories for the event. 

Angie Ziesman Weiler, an advisor for the event, said she encourages students, staff and faculty members to submit their stories to brook@thisismybrave.org with the name and type of piece to be performed. 

Kirkwood Community College also offers many resources for struggling students that are available online, over the phone and also in person. 

Counseling Services has online screenings to help students further evaluate their symptoms and they offer personal, educational and career counseling. The online screenings can be found at kirkwood.edu/counseling. 

Students can reach out to Counseling Services on the Cedar Rapids Campus by calling 319-398-5540 or stopping by 108 Iowa Hall. 

On the Iowa City Campus, Counseling Services is located by the One Stop Office and the phone number is 319-887-3658. 

Students can also reach out to the 24-hour Foundation 2 hotline at 319-362-2174 in Cedar Rapids or The Crisis Center of Johnson County at 319-351-0140.

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