The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


Audrey Wang

Snowy weather often brings about Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD

Audrey Wang, Staff Writer

For many students, the holiday season is filled with a contagious sense of happiness and warmth that more than earn its title as the most wonderful time of the year. With all the giving and good feelings going around, it can be easy to forget that, while many of us are sipping hot chocolate and spreading holiday cheer, close to half a million Americans across the country are facing the negative effects of the seasonal transition.

While some are engaging in rousing snowball fights, these 500,000 will be battling depression, irritability, and decreased energy levels. These are all effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.  

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that follows the seasons. The people who deal with its effects experience various symptoms including depression and anxiety during the winter months. The cause of this seasonal mood disorder may be due to the lack of sunlight in the winter.

According to KidsHealth, the shorter winter days and longer nights cause humans to produce increased levels of the hormone melatonin linked to sleep, which increases when it gets darker. Melatonin is responsible for regulating a person’s sleep-wake cycle, so an increase of melatonin can cause one to feel lethargic, tired, and unalert. Serotonin, on the other hand, is produced in larger quantities when there is more sunlight and is linked to a person’s feelings of happiness. When combined, this lack of serotonin and extra dose of melatonin is a recipe for depression.

Although that may be the biological culprit for this case of recurrent depression, many think another factor may be the unrealistic expectations for the holiday season.   

“Christmas appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the inadequacies of life (and a “victim” mentality) in comparison with other people,”said Psychology Today writer Ray Williams.

Some students here at Adams are also feeling the chill of the dark days.

“There are more clouds and I’m not as happy. On top of that, there are exams so I am more stressed out even though it is the holidays,” Senior Nick Dong said.

“I miss the sunlight.  The early darkness makes me feel like I have less energy to carry on throughout the days,”Senior Nicole Stewart added.

Although SAD may seem to put a damper on the holiday spirit, we have the power to look at the holidays in another light. Even though it may be hard for many people, this time of the year is a perfect opportunity to reach out to people, and be grateful for what life has to offer. The holiday season is all about giving and goodwill, the perfect time to reach out to neighbors and celebrate the true meaning of the holidays.

Though it may be sad that the year is drawing to a close, a new one begins, providing a fresh start. Instead of reflecting too much on the past, we should embrace the present and look forward to the future.