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How To Manage Depression As A College Student This Holiday Season

Seasonal depression is a real thing. And it isn’t abnormal around this time of year to begin seeing it rear its ugly head. You see, the holidays are coming up! There’s so much to look forward to, like the tantalizing aromas of home-cooked meals wafting through the air. Or even the faces of those you love, smiling all around.

But let’s be real, did I just paint a familiar picture of what your holiday season is going to be or did I paint someone else’s? People tend to assume the holidays are the best time of year, but that’s not always the case. Everyone doesn’t have a Pinterest-esque holiday season to look forward to. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about getting a break and enjoying the festivities that come with the upcoming season, but through the eyes of my close friends, I’ve been able to peer into the other side. Through picking their brains, I’ve come to find that instead of the onset of the brilliant autumn leaves and the light breezy air spreading cheer and excitement, for some it brings depression and dejection.

No matter your major, we all know that college isn’t a cakewalk.

On one hand, you’re studying and working towards your goals. On the other, you’re away from home, in a foreign space. You’re exchanging work for leisure, while only tasting the relief of an incentive on occasion. Making this lifestyle a habit can become mentally eroding. It’s completely understandable for one to become depressed because of this. As a young college student, there’s only so much you can withstand before you’re drained of your exuberance. So why wouldn’t the idea of a holiday escape be anything short of appealing? 

Based on real accounts, for some, college has been a place of refuge.

While for others it’s merely been a rousing, new experience. For those who sympathize with the campus being more of an escape, the thought of staying home may be more of a burden than anything else. There are also those who don’t have a family to spend time with this year. First-year students typically either haven’t become acclimated enough to have developed relationships with their peers in such a new environment, or those they do know already have plans for their holiday breaks. 

Plenty of students, like myself, are looking forward to the holiday season, but there are two sides to every story. No one should feel bad or be made to feel such a way for not expressing excitement about this season. It’s common for youth to experience feelings of depression or anxiety around this time of year. According to Pasadena Villa, studies have shown that an estimated 5% of the U.S. population experience seasonal depression, most of which are people from ages 18 to 30.  Anyone experiencing this should seek help from a trusted source or maybe take some time to do the things that bring you pleasure and jubilation. Don’t peg yourself into uncomfortable situations to appease the expectations of family or friends. 

Everyone isn’t excited about the holiday season, and that’s okay.

Just be sure to take the steps necessary to manage your mental health. It’s very common, and it’s an intelligibly grueling process, of overcoming such difficult mental and or emotional obstacles. I hope this helped put what some of you may be struggling with in regard to depression, into perspective. 

Zada Luby is a first-year student at Gwinnett Technical college, she’s a nursing major who loves art, nature, and helping her community grow.

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