Battling seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in college can be disorienting. This might be the first time you’re living on your own, or in a place where dark, dreary winters are even a thing, and as any student knows, the healthiest choices aren’t always clear or accessible on campus. But when the so-called “Winter blues” start to morph into something more serious, ignoring the problem can actually impact your academic performance, as well as your health.
Some of the most basic symptoms of SAD include lethargy, depression, an inability to focus, and increased anxiety. Jennifer B. Siddle, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist with Family Psychiatry and Psychology Associates in Cary, NC, explained that seasonal depression may also cause changes in your appetite and sleep — specifically, you’re likely to want to do more of both. While talking to a doctor should always be first on your list, these expert strategies can help you better manage seasonal depression from your dorm and on a ramen noodle budget.