Tag Archives: fall

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Finding the Light in Seasonal Affective Disorder

-Marissa Tomko

They say that April showers bring May flowers, but what do January showers bring? For residents of the northwestern corner of the country, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may be the answer. This is a disorder that seriously affects about 6 percent of Americans ages 20-40, and this does not include the 20 percent who experience less severe symptoms. Of these percentages, 75 percent are said to be women.

It is a pretty common opinion, at least among my peers, that summertime is preferable over the winter months, and it makes sense—it’s less stressful, more fun, and the weather allows us to enjoy outdoor activities without freezing or getting soaked. Even given the financial benefits, the number of Southern California kids that decide to come to school in Eugene always throws me. Even though the majority of them love this school and the experiences they have, there is no shortage of complaints about the cold and constant rain.

This makes for a less active student population in the fall and winter months. Students become more tired, less productive, and have tendencies to veg out and and smile less. Oregon is ranked the fourteenth most depression-affected state in the nation. But why? After looking into it, I realized that it is not the cold or rain that makes us all want to snuggle up and avoid homework—it’s the darkness.

During the fall and winter, the Northwest is under pretty constant cloud cover. It’s an event when the sun decides to shine down for an hour or two in the middle of January. But the sunshine does more than spark excited small talk about the weather—it gives us the chance to soak up some precious vitamin D, which helps us feel more awake and healthy. Melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep, is produced in amounts inversely related to how much vitamin D we absorb. This causes us to experience a dramatic energy low, which serves as a basis for other SAD symptoms including feelings of depression, cravings for sweet and carb-loaded foods, anxiety, and a less-positive feeling about life in general.

Methods to avoid these symptoms are different for everyone who is affected by them. Spending as much time in the sunlight as possible is crucial. When you cannot do so, light therapy is an alternative option often prescribed. This involves a special lamp that burns ten times brighter than normal indoor lighting and has the ability to simulate a sunrise by increasing in brightness throughout your morning.

Another way to combat symptoms is to create a healthy lifestyle. This includes keeping an eye on your diet and exercise routines, cutting back on time in front of the computer, and trying to maintain a positive mental outlook. These notions may be easier said than done, but they are the main components to beating winter blues and living a sustainable and healthy life overall. If you have a hard time doing these things on your own, talk to a counselor or a friend face-to-face.

Feeling the effects of darkness is more common than you might think, especially in the stressed-out lives of university students. Just don’t forget to take a step back sometimes and focus on what makes you smile.

The 10 Best Things About Fall

-Jamie Hershman

There’s nothing better than when the weather starts changing and you get to break out all the cold weather habits that make you smile. Read on for my personal opinion on the greatest aspects of autumn.

#1 Pumpkin spice everything

Pumpkin spice is the best thing that ever happened to the world. Is there really anything better than a pumpkin-spice latte with a piece of pumpkin pie? The answer is no, unless you add a pumpkin spice candle and maybe a pumpkin loaf.

#2 Sweater weather (is better weather)

Wearing big, comfy sweaters is one of the best parts of the season. Knowing there’s a little chill in the air makes it all the better to snuggle up in your softest knits and warmest boots and face the cool air without the slightest shiver.

#3 Football season

Duck football. Need I say more?

#4 Costumes, candy, and Halloween weekend

This is your one chance of the year to get especially creative with your costumes and go all out in dressing up. It’s only appropriate one night a year to dress like a weirdo and go around knocking on stranger’s doors asking for candy. Start brainstorming that really unique costume now. Also, three nights to celebrate one holiday has never been so great. A high schooler’s Halloween hardly compares to the college version.

#5 Hot tea

I guess you could drink hot tea in the 90-degree summer weather, but we all know that it tastes so much better when it’s cold out. Plus, there are so many different options: herbal, green, black, or maybe even a piping hot oolong.

#6 Thanksgiving

Seriously, food is one of the best things about fall: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, apple pie, and family and friends. It just keeps getting better.

#7 The changing colors

Walking along a path filled with red and orange leaves with trees bursting with yellow is such a beautiful sight. Instagram that picture as soon as possible before all the leaves fall off for good (or at least until spring).

#8 Birthdays

Specifically mine. Not that I’m biased or anything, but my birthday is always the greatest.

#9 Fall TV

All the best TV shows start up again for a new season. Summer television is all reality all the time, so it’s fun to actually catch up on a show you’ve been craving for three months. Plus, there are always new shows to get excited about.

#10 It’s that much closer to winter

Winter break is just around the corner and so are the holidays. It’s almost time to sell back your fall term books for good and then break out the Christmas tree or Menorah. It’s the perfect transition from one great season to another, filled with holiday treats and presents. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

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Celebrate the Season with a Pumpkin Treat

-Rache’ll Brown

Anytime someone mentions fall, my brain automatically goes to turning leaves and pumpkin treats. So, on a Saturday morning while scrolling through Pinterest, a certain recipe caught my eye: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.

Growing up, anytime I had the opportunity to make cookies, I usually chose snickerdoodles. Something about taking little dough balls and rolling them in cinnamon sugar is just so fun, and when I saw the combination of one of my favorite cookies and favorite fall flavors (Seriously, September through December I am fueled off pumpkin), I knew I had to make them.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:

3 3/4 cups flour (For a traditional taste, use all-purpose, but I subbed with whole wheat which created a different flavor)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The process is easy enough. First, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then cream together the wet ingredients in a second bowl with a hand blender. Combine them thoroughly, adding the flour in a little bit at a time, and then let the dough chill covered in the fridge for about an hour. In the mean time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mix together ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. You’ll also need a flat cup with a slightly moistened bottom to flatten the cookie balls on the sheet. Once the dough is chilled, scoop about 2 tablespoons out at a time and create small balls.

Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mix, place on a cookie tray, and then flatten with the bottom of your cup.

After baking for 10 to 12 minutes, take out and place on a cooling rack. Or, like me, you can enjoy straight out of the oven with a cold glass of almond milk. This makes a huge batch! I made twenty-four cookies and still had to freeze half of the dough (which lasts four to six weeks, if you are wondering). These are the perfect treat for a cool autumn night, and are even better when shared with friends.

How to Find a New Place to Live: A Guide for the Clueless

-Sam Bouchat

That time of year has come around—it’s time to reserve your fall living situation. This will be my fourth time moving in as many years, and through hardship, annoyances, and difficultly learned lessons, I have become something of an expert at finding new places to live. Here is a simple guide to make finding your next home less stressful.

1. Determine Your Priorities

Every person has different needs in a living situation. For me, I don’t mind a long commute to campus; but I cannot, under any circumstances, live in a loud environment. Quiet and tranquility (along with price) are my highest priorities. As such, this limits my living arrangement options—this is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because I can narrow down where I want to live (areas around frats are out of the question), but bad because it gives me less options to choose from. You must figure out what is important to you, and use that structure when finding places you want to live.

2. Research Your Landlords

Utilize websites like Yelp and Google reviews to determine if your future property manager is responsible or god-awful. For instance, there must be a reason Von Klein Property Management has 17 reviews on Google, every single one of which is 1 star. But you don’t have to stop at the internet.

When I was living in my sophomore quarters, the landlord showed my place while I was there. The entire time, I was astounded that the groups to whom the place was being shown did not once ask us, the current tenants, about the rental. Talk to people who live there! You will never get a more honest opinion. And people LOVE to talk about their homes.

3. Read the Fine Print

READ. THE. LEASE. The whole lease. Every last word. Because you might end up being screwed, and you would have been warned if you had just read that last, 8 point clause. Ask questions about everything. What does “common area” imply? Who do I call for noise complaints? What’s the emergency number?

And make copies of EVERYTHING. Your lease, your checks. Write down who you talked with on the phone that promised that August rent would be half off. Keep documents, because they might be the only thing between you and a miserable year.

4. Talk to Friends

Your friends have great and awful living experiences—ask them for advice. Oh, you love where you live? How do I apply? Oh, your landlord never came to fix your dryer? I’ll be sure to avoid him.

5. Start Early

Don’t wait until the last minute to begin looking for and applying for fall apartments or houses. You’ll end up with the dregs. Find a place that you love now, and cut your stressing short. You’ll be thankful come September.