SRJC Students Discover Causes, Cures for Seasonal Depression

Nadav Soroker, Layout Manager

Students packed the Center for Student Leadership Wednesday afternoon to learn about holiday stress. They were informed about stress management and treated to a relaxing hour of basic calming exercises.

Smadar De Lange and Meagan Willan, two members from student psychological services, directed the seminar. They started with a group brainstorm about holiday stress and ways to cope. With the help of the students, De Lange explored how the holidays can be stressful, both financially and emotionally. People spend time with friends and family members who they don’t often see—sometimes the closeness can rub the wrong way. The drastic change in schedule, habits and food, coupled with the darkness from the change in weather can also raise stress.

“Sometimes the holidays are stressful because it is supposed to be a time of relaxation, but it’s not. The contradiction causes stress of its own,” said Willan.

Leaders and participants recommended focusing on one thing at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Exercise and a healthy diet help maintain well-being.

After the brainstorm, attendees paired up and shared examples of holiday stress in turns, learning to both listen and share. Once the pairs were done, individuals were invited to share anything they had learned.
Later, lights were dimmed and Willan guided the entire group through a relaxation and internalization exercise. This was followed by one last exchange. Each person anonymously wrote something they were thankful for on a notecard, put it in a basket and drew someone else’s card. The notes were discussed between partners. Many students received something they weren’t expecting from the seminar. Rather than a lecture students got to relax, talk to each other and discover new perspectives.

“I didn’t think it was going to be so interactive,” said SRJC student, Rebecca Norris.