Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


Tip of the Week: Don't Take Your Sunshine Away

Now that the clocks have fallen back another hour, you may find your days seem to fly by. Yesterday's sunset occurred at just 5:00pm. The shorter sunlight hours can lead to a biochemical imbalance that leave you feeling depressed. Approximately 10-20% of Americans may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues.

The reasons for the melancholy feelings stem from changes in hormones. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) decreases and serotonin (the hormone for wakefulness and elevated mood) increases when it's light. Sun also helps your body produce vitamin D which helps in the production of mood-boosting serotonin. With less light to regulate the chemicals, you may feel more fatigued earlier in the day. To ward of the winter blues, there are some tips that can help!

When you begin your day, turn on the lights instead of getting ready in a dimly lit room. It will better wake you up and keep you from starting your day feeling sluggish. Take the long way to class. There are only a limited number of sunlight hours in the day so try to soak up as much as you can. Walk across campus for lunch, take walks for study breaks, or wander around the neighborhood when chatting with friends. If you can't brighten up outside, brighten up your inside space. Get a bright throw blanket, pick up some fresh flowers, or just keep your blinds open throughout the day. If you feel you may have more than just the winter blues, contact the Counseling Center for information on Seasonal Affective Disorder. For more information, click here.