Moody Weather and Winter Blues

Feeling down and depressed? Maybe it’s the weather.
Moody Weather and Winter Blues

When skies are gray, days are shorter, and temps are too cold, it can be downright depressing. Research suggests that bad weather can affect a person’s emotions.  In fact, the most severe sufferers may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder, known as SAD. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a combination of less sunlight and shorter days affects a chemical change in the brain and Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone, is increased.

LHS school psychologist Sheila Coleman-Gross.

Lancaster High School psychologist Sheila Coleman-Gross said that a lot of  people who feel the winter blues during the colder months may actually suffer from SAD. 

“I think it’s more common than some people may be aware of. My concern and question is are you getting diagnosed correctly,” stated Sheila Coleman-Gross.

LHS teacher Hannah McKenny said that she was diagnosed with SAD by her general doctor. 

“I feel sluggish, not as cheerful as my typical self, and I struggle with maintaining positivity. The winter months are quiet, sleepy, and I try to fill them with activities to keep me active so I don’t go into a slump,” she said.

The article, Identifying the Winter Blues vs. Seasonal Depression,  published on the Michigan State University website, said that seasonal depression is a mental health condition triggered by a changing of the seasons and is more common in younger people and women. It can lead to sadness and lack of interest in usual daily life activities but it is different and more than just the winter blues (Cudney).  Additionally, SAD can involve sadness, little interest or enjoyment from usual daily life, low energy level, tendency to gain weight and an increase in sleeping (Cudney). 

LHS family and student coordinator Nichole DeLeon. Photo courtesy of DeLeon.

“Some people recognize this is due to the colder weather and shorter days, however some are not aware that this mood change is temporary and can be managed”, stated LCS Family and Student Support Coordinator Nichole DeLeon.

Winter blues are mainly temporary but for some it can become more serious and may qualify as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The difference has to do with the severity of the symptoms. It’s important to remember that everyone has different emotions and it’s normal for people to feel sad. 

“When sadness interferes with your daily life, then that’s when interventions are needed and there is a more serious issue,” stated DeLeon. 

LHS Library Associate Maria McDaniel. Photo courtesy of McDaniel.

LHS staff member Maria McDaniel stated she normally feels stressed and anxious on days it’s gloomy out and she only feels this way January through mid March. 

 “I normally feel stressed, anxious to the point I have eye ticks and foot vibrations, sunny days help a little but not much,” stated McDaniel. 

LHS office assistant Jacinda LeForce. Photo courtesy of LaForce.

Jacinda LeForce, a staff member here at LHS said the winter months make her feel worn out and she thinks it is because of the lack of warmth and sunshine. As well as her inability to get out and garden.

“I really enjoy gardening and I am not able to be out and about in my garden and during the winter months I feel worn out.”

Feeling blue?  Depressed? Be sure to reach out to local or worldwide health hotlines. 

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