UH offers helping hand for seasonal blues
Counseling and Psychological Services is urging students susceptible to seasonal depression to practice healthy behaviors and to not overindulge in eating or sleeping during the winter break.
"(It is) not unusual to experience holiday blues during a break," CAPS Director Ken Waldman said.
Waldman also advised students to practice self-care with healthy eating and sleeping habits. Instead of staying indoors during the winter break, Waldman recommended that students prepare to return to school by running errands and buying books early.
Students may also find themselves suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a disorder in which a person’s mood is affected by the changes of the seasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD symptoms include anxiety, appetite changes, weight changes and loss of concentration.
SAD is likely the result of an evolutionary adaptation for mammals to sleep and eat more during darker periods of the year, The New York Times reported. An increased amount of melatonin – a chemical in the brain that tracks light changes – is one of the indicators that have been found to affect people.
Light therapy, or exposing individuals to light to suppress melatonin, is one of the methods used to treat those suffering from SAD, The New York Times reported.
Waldman said that while SAD is common in other areas of the country, such as the Northwest, it is somewhat unusual in Houston because the weather is generally the same year round.
Waldman said that students, faculty and staff are welcome to come to CAPS, 226 Student Service Center, for assistance. Students can also call (713) 743-5454.