Fluctuating temperatures at CHS a cause for worry in winter months



CHS students and teachers talk about the winter blues spreading down the halls.https://unsplash.com/license

Adina Saks

As the days become shorter and darker, students may begin to feel the effects of the phenomenon known as “winter blues,” a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that causes fatigue, loss of energy and an overall feeling of melancholy.

During the cold winter months, the body’s circadian rhythm, the internal clock regulating sleep and wake cycles, can be disrupted. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the gradual loss of sunlight leads to a decrease in serotonin production and an increase in melatonin production, creating symptoms of unhappiness and sleepiness. This melancholy often trickles into student life, with research conducted by TeensHealth showing that young people are particularly susceptible to winter blues.

Junior Khanh Le of Ocean notices a distinct shift in her emotional well-being when the weather becomes colder, as well as a lack of energy to get things done.

“I just generally feel unmotivated during the winter months,” Le said. “It’s hard to get excited when it’s so dark and gloomy.”

llustration and Design teacher Shelley Ortner notices her students becoming less energetic during the wintertime, and points out that this melancholy often affects teachers as well.

“It’s just a hard time of year to get through,” Ortner said. “When the weather is bad, it’s hard to get motivated, and the end of the year seems really far away.”

Ortner does her best to try and combat these lethargic feelings by hosting Just Dance days and video game days to give students the opportunity to relax. She notes, however, that the lack of snow – and therefore the lack of snow days this year – has further contributed to feelings of melancholy. She believes that it is important to break up the long stretch of winter months to be less repetitive.

“Changes are good,” Ortner said. “Even just waking up to a snowy day can change things up and make it fun, just to bring something different into your life.”

This winter has been different from previous years, being one of the least snowy seasons in New Jersey for several decades according to NJ.com. Sophomore Molly McCarthy misses the snow this year and feels that the lack of snow has further intensified the gloom of winter.

“There’s been no snow, just sleet and hail,” McCarthy said. “It’s just not as pretty as I would like it to be.”

Despite the negative effects associated with winter blues, Le believes that sluggish feelings during the winter months are a natural part of life.

“Human beings, like other mammals, are just affected that way instinctively,” Le said. “Look in the animal kingdom, at every mammal during the winter, what are they doing? They’re sleeping, resting more; toning things down.”