Feeling blue when the leaves turn orange

The transition to autumn can feel slow for students but provides an opportunity to change their habits


Lizzy Kerzman, Writer

School has already been in session for over two months. Tests are being studied for, sports are tuning into crunch time and friends have expected fall activities to attend together. As the weather starts to cool off, people can start to find themselves caught in a rut. 

This “rut” can be a more mild and common form of seasonal depression known as ‘winter blues.’ Feelings of always being tired or not being able to change bad habits are more common in places far north or south of the equator. Living in North Dakota, the sun seems to be out for a declining 10 hours a day before leaving for the night.  

After spending all day looking at the classroom’s big projector or on small Chromebooks, I find myself at home on an even smaller screen. The high-energy visible light, or blue light, that cellphone, computer and television screens emit tricks the brain into changing their internal clock. Thus, making falling asleep a task in itself. 

Sunlight regulates your serotonin levels, the brain chemical that contributes to the feeling of joy, and your vitamin D production. Vitamin D deficiency can affect your mood, making you tired, anxious, hopeless or agitated. Without the sun, bodies are confused as they try to tell themselves when to shut down at the correct time. For some people, this only takes a few weeks of a six o’clock sunset before it can properly function from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For the other percentage of the population, this is not the case. 

I seem to be so tired at school, but the notifications I get as I am going to bed mock me with their buzzing and bright lights. When my friends are up and sending me videos, I have a hard time putting my phone down and just waiting until the morning to check and respond. Staying up later than I intend to haunts me during 6th period when I hit a hard wall. 

Common colds and sicknesses are spreading fast throughout classrooms at Bismarck High, taking students out of multiple subjects of work. Teachers understand that being home sick does not mean students can get all of their work done in time, yet the grace period is a small one. Sometimes catching up after missing days of school creates a spiral that is hard to come out of. 

Physical illness can take a tough toll on your body, but sometimes the mental strength needed to get back into a good groove is even tougher.  

Even though school can be a main stressor in a teen’s life, sitting with friends at lunch can help take the stress of a calculus test. Isolating oneself is a major “don’t” according to Cleveland Clinic. If all that one feels like doing is laying on the couch watching Halloween movies, try reaching out to a friend or family member to simply watch them together. 

Ways to ‘beat the blues’ include simple activities that can be introduced throughout the day to keep energy and mood up. Keeping active, seeing friends and family, eating healthy and getting outside whenever possible can lift your spirit and keep you going all day.