“Shower in the morning. Set tangible goals. Spend less time on social media.”
These were just a few tips Kent State students received during the seasonal depression support group on Monday night.
Several students shared their experiences with seasonal depression, as well as some of their own methods in coping with the mental health illness.
“I have depression, so I know that when it starts getting cold outside, I lose motivation,” junior public health major Sydney Evans said. “It hinders my progress.”
Although she has difficult days, Evans said she can usually find ways to motivate herself.
“Sometimes I have to bribe myself” Evans said. “I’m like, ‘if you go to class, you can get a nap,’ or ‘if you get your homework done, maybe you can go to sleep.’”
Seasonal depression usually occurs around the same time every year when there is less sunlight, and your body isn’t getting a lot of Vitamin D.
It’s the lack of Vitamin D that can make an individual feel helpless or worthless, and can cause an individual to isolate themself from friends or family, junior nursing major and organizer of the support group Jacqueline Washington said.
“I get distant from my friends and I just don’t tell anyone what I’m going through,” she said. “Even talking to my mom, living two and a half hours away -- that relationship suffers.”
Some students said they face different challenges, such as being unable to sleep at night.
“I’ll be tired and I’ll cut everything off, but I can’t sleep,” junior construction management major Richard Jackson said. “I don’t get it.”
However, there are multiple solutions for restlessness, such as taking melatonin or reading a book before bed, said sophomore public health major Charysh Hudson.
“If you take really slow deep breaths in and really slow deep breaths out, it makes you fall asleep instantly,” she said. “It’s good for you. It makes your brain slow down.”
Washington provided students with journals to use when they need to clear their minds, or when they want to make checklists for the days ahead of them.
“Making checklists and crossing things off really helps with feeling like you accomplished something,” she said.
Although the support group didn’t solve all of her problems, it did provide a sense of community, Hudson said.
“It’s good to see a community of people that also go through the same things,” she said.
Her takeaway from support group echoed Evans’.
“What I’m feeling is real. What I’m feeling is valid, and other people feel it too,” she said. “There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the way I feel. I feel like I have support now.”
Jackson, who attended the event to gain clarity on some of his negative feelings, said he learned a lot by talking to a group of his peers.
“I just thought I was by myself, or that I was just upset, but seasonal depression is an actual thing,” Jackson said. “Going from not knowing something to actually knowing a little more about it is a great thing. I’m happy that I came.”
With finals week approaching, the support group will be put on hold for the rest of the semester. However, the meetings will begin again at the start of the spring semester.
The most important thing for students to remember is to be kind to themselves, Washington said.
“I know we all get down on ourselves, but try not to pick out that one bad thing that you did in the day, but think about the one good thing you did,” she said. “Give yourself determination and motivation to keep going.”
Contact Zaria Johnson