Is Valentine’s Day an Extension of Seasonal Depression?

Danyale Schlender, Co-Editor in Chief

February 14th is the day singles across the globe and underprepared or forgetful partners have dreaded since 175 AD. Originally we started celebrating the holiday in honor of Saint Valentine but today it is used to measure how much love we have for our significant others. Whether you are single, in a relationship or it’s complicated, here’s why Valentine’s day should be canceled due to extending seasonal depression.

Winter depression, also called seasonal depression, is a mental disorder called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is not uncommon for people across the globe to become depressed when the days get colder and families unite to celebrate the holidays. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has been studying SAD for years, their conclusion, “SAD is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year. ” and “scientists do not fully understand what causes SAD.”

However, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance and a deficit of the neurotransmitter serotonin. One cause of seasonal depression could be having shorter days and longer nights. The lack of sunlight could deprive the body of much needed vitamin D which also ties into boosting serotonin levels. 

Roughly, SAD kicks in around November potentially being triggered by Thanksgiving and can last into the New Year. It probably does not help that holidays are all squished together and are in order, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years THEN “loneliness day”, or Valentines Day. Not to mention, most if not all, of the mentioned holidays have significant other connotations making spending them alone that much more painful. 

To top it all off these holidays take place smack dab in the middle of winter. Also known as cuddle season or snuggle weather. Having the constant reminder that you are alone everytime there’s a chill that is not comforted with a warm hug is aggravating. 

We as humans need physical touch, human warmth, and to be loved. We are reminded of that fact everytime we get lonely or feel as if we are unloveable. Almost as if the universe itself is proving that human connection and physical contact is one of “our most basic and fundamental needs”, stated by John Bowlby, British psychologist. 

Love is already everywhere, people holding hands at the mall, couples snuggled up in a movie theater, and uncomfortable displays of PDA in school hallways. We do not need the extra pressure nor a potentially painful reminder annually. Valentine’s day is outdated and purely just a sales boost on flowers that die in a week and assorted chocolates.