Made in China: Seasonal Blues

There are only two seasons in Minnesota: construction and winter. As a Minnesota Native, you’d think I’d be used to it by now, driving 20 mph through the icy roads under a blanket of darkness at the strike of 5 p.m. Without fail, every year it seems to get the best of me. 

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, is something I’m sure everyone struggles with at some point in their life. Having minimal sunshine throughout your day as a student, looking forward to going home and find that the sun says goodbye shortly as you return. The frigid wind and fluffy rain that’ll make your bones dance. And the total four bearable hours you probably spend outside during the months of January through March.

The first time I noticed I was experiencing seasonal depression was my freshman year of college. Most of my classes were online and I rarely had to leave my house. Mask mandates were instated almost everywhere and I was confined to my tiny bedroom. I felt so isolated and the weather did nothing but encourage that feeling. Being away from my family for an extended period for the first time in my life also was a contributing factor.

During these months all I wanted to do was either sleep, eat or watch reality television. Endless episodes of “The Bachelor” and many afternoon naps were taken just to wake up mid evening in total darkness. We as humans have something called an internal clock meaning a system in the body that control when you sleep and eat. Light has a lot to do with your internal clock. If it is darker out, your body will tend to be more tired, while if it is bright and sunny, you tend to be more energetic. This can explain why they tell you not to go on your phones before bed: your eyes think your screen may be sunlight.

After many months of unmotivating days feeling like Squidward in that one episode of “Spongebob”, I finally came to realize that I had seasonal depression. So, like any other teen girl, I searched the symptoms and treatments. I found the top results for treating this feeling were exercise, eating healthier and having artificial sun lamps.

Running to Planet Fitness where I bought my first a gym membership and adding a few sun lamps to my amazon cart I began my journey to combat the blues. And to my surprise it worked. I started going to the gym regularly, eating more greens and my mood became better and better each day until eventually spring came and my personally defrosted with the rest of nature.

As a Minnesotan you can’t fight the winter, but you can at least prepare for it.

Write to Julia Barton at

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