Wally wisdom

Dealing with the big SAD


Ea Perkins

Wally Hill does a little dance.


Leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, spooky season is over and it’s time for eagles like me to start flying south for the winter…but I can’t because I have to finish school and graduate. That’s the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and it’s not really doing much for me right now. I’m always tired and angry, my grades are dropping and it’s hard to care because every feather of my wings just wants to fly away from it all. But I can’t. That’s OK though! I go through this every year, so I’ve learned a thing or two about dealing with, what I like to call, the big SAD. 

Note: the acronym SAD often refers to seasonal affective disorder, aka seasonal depression. I am not specifically referring to seasonal affective disorder as “the big SAD.”

Wally Wisdom – Dealing with the big SAD:

  • Pick your battles –

Learn to prioritize! Sometimes you only have so much energy you can give, and a lot of things don’t deserve the amount of energy you give them. You don’t need to put 100% effort into every assignment and burn yourself out. 90% and 100% will look the same on your transcripts.

  • D.E.A.D. (drop everything and dance) – 

I like to deal with negative energy the same way one would deal with a fire: smother it (with positive energy). Try being sad while crazy dancing to early 2000s club music; you can’t. Boring homework? Read it out loud in a British accent. Turn that frown upside down…with a cartwheel. When your body is full of negative energy, release it back into the world as something that will make you smile.

  • Cry about it – 

Sometimes you have to release negative energy the old-fashioned way, and that’s OK too. Cry. Breathe. Keep it moving. Crying is useless if you dwell on the negativity afterward. Have a full-on toddler tantrum if you need to, but think of it as a reset button to center yourself so you can keep moving forward.

  • Take a nap – 

Similar to crying, taking a nap is just another way to center yourself and better process your emotions. Don’t nap to avoid your feelings. If you’re overwhelmed, nap to clear your mind so you can go back with a better perspective. 

  • Your friends are not licensed therapists – 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 13-year-olds don’t know diddly-squat (neither do 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18-year-olds). Friends should be there to support you when you need a hug or some encouragement, but constantly dumping all your sad thoughts on your friends can affect their mental health too, especially if they don’t know how to help you (which they most likely don’t). 

  • You’re not you when you’re hungry (or sad) – 

Don’t compare yourself to what you used to be able to do; be proud of what you’re accomplishing now. The person you are when you’re dealing with the big SAD is not functioning at the same capacity that you were when you weren’t dealing with the big SAD. If the best you can do is 70% or 80% of what you used to be able to do, that’s OK. Get help when you need it, but be proud of what you’re doing instead of dwelling on what you’re not doing.

Also, don’t forget to eat (a Snickers is not a balanced meal).

Remember, the big SAD is temporary (if it’s not, you should talk to a doctor). You got this!


Wally Hill