Northwest Missourian Opinion

Life is full of ups and downs. As cliché as that phrase is, its meaning still holds quite a bit of value. We’re entering the time of year that is often associated with a downswing of emotions that seems to correlate with the temperature and quality of weather. Although we’re inching closer to the “most wonderful time of the year,” sometimes it’s hard to feel that end-of-year cheer.

Whether you’re a grown adult, stumbling college student or confused high school kid, seasonal depression hits pretty hard during these winter months. However, it isn’t the end of the world, and there are ways to regain control of your emotions.

The end of fall and beginning of winter are beautiful times of the year. The colorful trees provide a sense of warmth that counterbalances the cool breezes. This is a good time to take a step back and appreciate what the world offers. There’s a certain calmness that comes from this time of the year, especially in Maryville, that’s different from other seasons. It could be that it’s too cold for anybody to want to venture outside or just that the world goes quiet when temperatures start to drop.

However, it gets hard to appreciate life when it seems to slip away in December. Trees are bare, grass is dead and general motivation to roll out of bed is nowhere to be found. I might present a few clichés, but I’ll only mention the ones that merit attention despite their redundancy.

During this season, it’s important to surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. This is much more than someone who wants you to make money or get good grades. These people will listen to your emotions, pick you up when you’re down and push you to continue fighting the good fight. Chances are, you’re not going through this pain alone. There are tons of others who have experienced the same thing — let them lead you through it instead of running from them.

Find something to motivate yourself. Everybody has goals for their future, no matter the size or amount of work they require. Setting something out that inspires you to roll out of bed, start your day and get better will keep you active daily. Additionally, goals can serve as a reminder that you have a purpose, a reason to smile and enjoy life. Small goals to start you off can be as simple as talking to your favorite person each day, laughing on TikTok or even getting out of bed. Little victories lead to little happiness — which is what we need now and again.

Enjoy movie nights and warm delights when it’s too cold to even think about existing. We all know outside is going to get ugly, so it’s best to just accept it and move on. The good thing about ugly weather is that it acts as an excuse to avoid people you don’t like. Might as well take the opportunity to curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate — or whatever your choice of warm beverage is — and relax. People do need breaks to recharge from time to time.

Depression, seasonal or not, affects everybody differently, so my suggestions may be useless. Find whatever makes you feel good at the end of the day. Every day may not be a good one, but there’s always somebody there willing to aid and help in a time of need. Don’t be afraid to express that something is wrong and know that every night ends so that another day may begin.

Anyone who struggles with mental health can call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. Students can also reach the Northwest Wellness Center at 660-562-1348.

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