Searching for Sun: Seasonal Depression and How to Cope With It


Delphine Mock and Claire Rulyak

It is estimated by the National Library of Medicine that around five percent of children and teens are affected by what they refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). At Seattle Prep, many students can feel the effect of what is more commonly referred to as “seasonal depression”. Between the increased hours spent in the dark, to pressure from the holidays, there are many unavoidable causes of seasonal depression in the winter months. So, it is important to look out for them and take care of oneself, especially during the teen years. f it is just for a short walk or to get some reading done for Collegio, researchers at universities such as Stanford and Hopkins agree that light exposure can help. 

Furthermore, 64 percent of people struggling with SAD and conditions like it say their conditions worsen with the holiday season according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Often, the holidays are portrayed as a time of pure joy and love. However, with school, family dynamics, and stress, the holidays can be underwhelming. Many doctors say that the expectations that come with changes in season can further increase a patient’s seasonal depression. This is why it is extremely important to try and stay relaxed with the condition and spend whatever free time you have with loved ones. 

According to Ever Mind Matters (EMM) leader, Maddie Ando ’23, “Seasonal depression is sadly very common in gray and rainy climates like the one we live in in Seattle. I would say the best thing to do is contact your counselors.” 

More advice Ando gives in coping with seasonal depression includes breaks from social media, going on walks/hikes with friends, moving your body, journaling, or meditation. “Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing more serious symptoms,” said Ando. 

If experiencing seasonal depression, it is extra important to slow down and feel gratitude. Emotional strain will always make it harder to feel positive emotion which only contributes to the already depressing winter months. Whether an individual has been diagnosed with seasonal depression, or feels just one or two of the symptoms, it is important to reach out for help! Along with help from professionals, like the lovely Prep counselors, here are some easy ways to feel joy and spread some love during this dark and rainy season: