CHOOSE TO LIVE (Suicide is NEVER a good choice): It may seem obvious, but the most essential life skill of all is choosing to live. Among the chief causes of suicide are depression, boredom, hopelessness, failure, lack of opportunities, absence of positive outlets/pursuits, etc. And while there are some circumstances in life that are beyond your control, know that there is always something you can do to make your life better, and that there is always someone there for you.
And remember: No matter how dark, dismal or depressing life may seem at times, there is ALWAYS a better, brighter tomorrow on the horizon.
SEE THE LIGHT: Living in Alaska, we are be especially susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). From October through March, when the days are shorter and sunlight is less intense, many Alaskans experience SAD with symptoms that include unusual levels of fatigue and sometimes depression. If you experience low energy, have trouble getting up in the morning (even after a good night’s sleep) or feel unusually depressed for no apparent reason, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The good news is that you can turn SAD to glad with a few simple strategies. First, get as much sunlight as possible. And second, invest in a quality Full Spectrum light. These units are available at most pharmacies and many department stores. Follow the instructions (distance from light and duration), and you will likely see and feel the difference in no time.
VOLUNTEER: Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help others! Discover purpose and satisfaction by volunteering to help Senior Citizens, mentor youth, work at the Food Bank, assist a neighbor or offer your time to a local non-profit. Few things in life are as fulfilling as giving your time to make a positive difference for someone else, and helping to make your community a better place.
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: The off-season can be the perfect time to recommit to your studies and improving your GPA. If you’re an accomplished athlete and considering a college scholarship in your chose sport, remember that universities will look as closely at your high school transcripts as they will at your stats on the field, court, ice or track. Many top athletes have lost out on scholarships because they failed to maintain an adequate GPA. Don’t be one of them. Every sport and activity has benefits, but there’s no substitute for a good education when it comes to winning for life.