How Teachers Can Help Kids Combat the Winter Blues
As the winter sets in, you will find a lot of youths complaining about their worsening moods. Winter is generally known to be a health-promoting season but it does not necessarily ginger up our mood. Like adults, kids also suffer a great deal. Kids are equally vulnerable to the winter season and remain gloomy. The cold temperatures and shorter days can mean spending more time indoors. Though winter months trouble people in many ways, approximately 6% of the population fall victim to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Like depression, SAD ranges from mild to moderate or severe episodes. While proper research has not been carried out to determine exact behavioral changes and symptoms in children, medical practitioners believe that symptoms of child and adolescent SAD are much similar to common symptoms of depression. Any of these might affect your child’s self-esteem, impair social and academic functioning and interfere with extracurricular activities.
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Increased crying
- Changes in mood, such as irritability and sadness
- Increased sleep and difficulty waking in the morning
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawal from typically enjoyable activities
- Changes in appetite
Shaking off the winter blues
Teachers can easily spot and help kids consider the following suggestions to ease winter's wrath:
- Exercise increases the amount of serotonin in the brain and helps to improve mood. Though you may not be able to get outside on the coldest days, pick a fun exercise video, challenge the family to a Wii Sports tournament, or throw a dance party in the living room!
- Engage in fun activities like playing board games, doing arts-and-crafts projects, or baking has been proven to elevate mood.
- Fun activities can be enjoyable by ourselves, but are often even more pleasurable when done with other people. Plan a lunch or dinner party with your neighbors or your children's friends.
- Rest and relax. Listen to calming music, read a good book, or practice meditative breathing or visualization.
- Get out of the house whenever possible. Bundle up and take a brisk walk to get some fresh air and a little sunlight.
- Being productive and accomplishing goals can also elevate our mood. Take advantage of having to stay indoors by tackling chores or projects you don’t usually have time for.
Consult a pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist or licensed therapist if you doubt symptoms of SAD do not alleviate following above-mentioned tips.