By Lydia Concannon
During the long months of winter many people struggle to keep their sanity. In New England it seems as though the snow will never disappear. The dark and ominous nights make it difficult to want to do anything. It may seem easier to simply stay at home during the dark evenings and snowy weekends, but this often leads to a low and depressed mood. More and more people are exhibiting symptoms of ‘SAD’ (seasonal affective disorder) because of the lack of sunlight during the winter.
With SAD, the lack of sunlight causes the brain to work overtime producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body clock and sleep patterns and a hormone that has been linked to depression. In order to stay happy during the winter season it is important to stay active. There are numerous things to do during winter but sometimes it is hard to be inspired to do anything.
“I don’t like winter because there aren’t a lot of things to do. There are some perks, but it’s a never-ending cycle of being cold, attempting to get warm, and being cold again,” says Alex Rothstein, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy.
In the winter many people try to stay positive by participating in different sports or activities. Joa Segal (‘18) says jokingly, “People usually don’t like winter because of the cold. Those people should put on more coats.”
In New Hampshire, there are over 33 ski areas and the sport has become very popular considering the amount of snow that NH receives during the winter. Many people don’t think of winter time as vacation time here but many New Hampshire ski areas have great activities for kids and areas for beginner skiers. Ian Covell (‘16), an avid skier, says, “The best part for me is the freedom and adrenaline I get from skiing. I can go anywhere I want and it’s so much fun working on my skills on my skis.” Whether you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, getting out on the mountain is a great way to stay active.
Another sport that is quite underrated is cross country skiing. Cross country skiing is skiing on flat terrain using your own momentum. There are numerous places in the Durham area that allow one to cross country ski such as the trails behind UNH or the snowy paths of Wagon Hill. Similar to this sport there is snowshoeing. With the piles of snow New Hampshire usually receives, all of these outdoor activities are easy to do.
“I love winter because I love skiing, but I also enjoy just getting outside and doing something. Most people think that winter is horrible because they don’t do anything during it, but if they did something they loved, I’m sure it would be a lot less miserable,” states Maya Akdemir, a member of the Turkish Junior National Ski Team.
If you don’t enjoy going outside when temperatures are low there are plenty of ways to stay active inside. Don Maynard, a Physical Education teacher at Oyster River High School, believes that staying active during the winter is important in order to stay happy and healthy. “First of all, any exercise is good. Crossing country skiing, snowshoeing, walking, shoveling snow, the exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym. A person should try to do something that is fun so they can look forward to it.”
Staying active and healthy during the winter is important but it is also important to do what you love. In order to beat the depression and to enjoy the winter Covell says, “I would recommend doing what you love to do, whether that be a sport like swimming or skiing, just working out, or any other activity that makes you happy. That will help you get through these long months.”