Dorm Fever

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For most students a four day weekend due to snow is a dream come true, but for some it is a nightmare in disguise. I welcomed the snow at James Madison University on Friday only to find myself praying that it would leave on Sunday. Born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia, where two inches of snow is enough to cancel school for at least two days, I was amazed by the amount of snow here in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The snow was not only beautiful to look at, but fun to play in. I went sledding, had snow ball fights, and climbed a countless amount of snow mounds. All of these activities kept me active and happy for a total of one day. After Friday, I felt that I had a done all of the snow activities possible and therefore was left to slowly sink into dorm boredom.

Although cabin/dorm fever is a fictional medical condition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a diagnosable and treatable wellness condition. The symptoms of winter SAD consists of irritability, low energy, oversleeping, cravings for foods containing more carbohydrates, and weight gain. The most apparent symptom I experienced over the long weekend was oversleeping. In my “normal” sleep pattern I wake up without an alarm at 7am. The weekend wintery depression, however, caused me to sleep in until 11am or later! I had no motivation to go to the gym or study. Instead, I binge watched episodes of Friends on Netflix.

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To combat my sluggish tendencies during the snowy weekend I followed some lifestyle changes that all students experiencing SAD should try!

  1. Everyday, no matter how cold, make sure to spend some time soaking up the sun outside
  2. Open the blinds and let natural light into your room while studying
  3. Practice healthy habits by spending some time working out at the UREC on campus or at home, eat healthier foods, and limit caffeine
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