The Spirit of the Season

Finding a way to be grateful over the holidays

The holiday season is depicted as a joyous time, with a break from school finally leaving you time to sleep in or catch up on your Netflix shows. With winter comes a chance of snow due to dropping temperatures and longer nights. But as happy as parts of the season are, there seems to be a subtle sadness lying just beneath the facade of Christmas lights and decorations

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for reducing depression and anxiety, so a decrease in serotonin leads to a higher chance of depression. As the sun drops below the horizon, people’s moods can fall as well.

For some people, winter is marked by celebration and time spent with family, but as Evan Dorian’s “The Avalanche” in this issue explores, not everyone experiences holiday happiness to the same extent.

While a positive attitude cannot cure every sadness (and depression certainly requires outside help), it can be a way of staying emotionally grounded when the winter months begin to bring you down.

So look towards these coming months with a positive attitude in order to increase your chances of enjoying the season! Take time to appreciate the little things.

The smell of fires, the nip of cold in the air, warm tea in the evening, decorating a tree – all of these things make up the holiday experience. Let yourself feel the spirit of winter and enjoy it when you can.

If you’re a fall athlete, appreciate the fact that you no longer have to practice in 104-degree weather. If you’re a senior, appreciate the fact that you are almost done with applying to college. If you’re involved in theatre, appreciate the fact that the musical will be starting soon. If you struggled to keep up grades in the first semester, appreciate the fact that you get a fresh start in January.

There is always something to be grateful for, so focus on what is going well for you. Spend time with people you care about. Whether you realize it or not, people care about you too. There are always people around you who can make things a little bit better.

Use your time on break to take care of yourself (check out Cary Robbins and Dean Campbell’s “Exam Stress: Do’s and Don’ts” for tips that work even after exams are done), but also to take care of others. Realize that there are problems in the world outside of your own and use your extra free-time to try to solve them. Reconnect with old friends, make amends with estranged family members and give gifts to your loved ones.

You could even volunteer at a local charity – no one is too young to help others. Service is an important part of the human experience, and there’s no better time to take part than the holiday season.

Positivity is contagious, breeding both self-confidence and success. Remember that this holiday season.