How Gen-Z Can Cope With Seasonal Depression
Although the holidays can be fun, seasonal depression is real. The medical term, seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of clinical depression that impact people in the fall and winter months. With the end of the year arriving and daylight savings time ending, the sudden darkness of the day ending can negatively affect the mental health of the younger generation.
According to the Claudia Black young adult center, SAD is most likely to occur in young adults in their late teens and early twenties. For many of us, the winter months lead to significant events coming, whether finals week, job hunting, grief, and past traumas.
“Seasonal depression is hard to deal with, especially since it comes around that time when it’s the last couple of months within the semester,” said Kendra Bryant, a Towson University student. The 19-year-old told Girls United that it is essential as a Gen-Z’er to constantly stay in contact with her family and friends as the holidays arrive. “Many people could be feeling lonely, and you may not even notice.”
Throughout this time, it’s essential to keep yourself active and busy so that you are not lost in your thoughts because it can be easy to constantly think of the stressors in your life, especially when it’s the end of the year. A key component to combatting seasonal depression is increasing the amount of sunlight intake, whether naturally with outside activities or with light therapy.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a lack of light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, an internal process that regulates sleep. This can cause your brain to produce too much of the melatonin hormone and release less serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that affects mood.
“My mood is attached to how bright it is, so when it gets dark quickly, I always try to absorb as much time outside when it’s bright and sunny, then I try to make my evenings feel [cozier],” said Eshe Ukweli, a senior at Howard University.
During the winter months, the need for balance with Gen-Z is vital because, unfortunately, the days end at a faster pace, and once it gets dark outside, it’s essential to know how to manage your stressors properly. For teen therapist Jaynay C. Johnson, the advice she gives to her clients and herself is to pour into themselves for comfort and reassurance in the winter.
“Something I plan to try this holiday season is, writing a love letter to honor and remember things and people that bring me joy,” Johnson told GU. “This letter can include writing happy memories about a loved one no longer with us, fun times with past connections, and happy memories of life.”