Around January and February, it seems that many students across America come down with a case of the winter blues. This is especially apparent if you live somewhere in the north, where the grey skies and cold weather seem perpetually endless.
Getting out of your warm, comfy bed to go to class when it’s still dark outside can feel like a special form of torture, and with a lack of warm weather, it’s tough to get outside and soak up that mood-lifting Vitamin D. You might feel sort of sad, tired, or simply down, and as the cold, grey days stretch on and on, it might feel harder and harder to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
However! There are definitely some things you can do to lift your spirits and make sure you’re staying healthy, even when the winter days are long and hard. Read on for some tips and tricks for surviving the winter blues.
1. Rule out Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
There’s a difference between being sort of down in the dumps and being so depressed you can hardly function. Many students suffer from seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), and the symptoms of it include decreased energy level, irritability, an inability to concentrate, and carbohydrate cravings. Students also tend to avoid social situations more than usual and have trouble sleeping.
If the minimal amount of sunlight and cold weather is really starting to affect you, you might want to head to the campus nurse or your local doctor and see what’s up. He or she might prescribe you medication or suggest some activities and healthy practices that can really make a difference in your life quality.
While it might feel like the last thing you want to do when it’s freezing outside, getting your blood pumping can really lift your mood and keep you healthy and full of energy. You don’t have to go for a five-mile run outside in the winter air—instead, you could head to the campus gym or try some yoga in your dorm room.
It also really helps if you exercise somewhere that’s well lit, so turn on all the lights, or if you’re up for it, take a brisk walk outside with a friend after a freshly fallen snow. If you already have a regular exercise routine, then excellent. You’re well on your way to keeping your spirits high during the darker days.
3. Make self-care a part of your routine
With a busy class schedule and loads of homework, it can be easy to neglect yourself and let stress take over. Make sure you’re taking time to feed yourself nutritious meals, get a good amount of sleep, and do things that help lower stress. This could look like taking a warm bath, doing your nails, reading a delightful book, or watching a movie with friends.
Self-care is not laziness, and it’s okay to do something fun here and there to make sure you stay sane.
4. Get out and do stuff
It’s easy to feel like a bump on a log when the weather’s freezing. After all, what can you of even do when it’s so cold out? It’s time to get creative! There are lots of things you can do outside in the winter: go sledding with friends, grab your skiis or snowboard and hit the hills, or build a snowman. There are also plenty of activities you can do inside as well: go to an art gallery, see a movie, attend a hockey game, or go bowling! It’s important that you get out of your dorm room now and then to avoid cabin fever.
5. Snuggle in
Another way to combat the winter blues is to accept the cold weather, try to make the most of it, and snuggle in. There’s a concept called “hygge,” a Danish word that encourages being cozy. Have some friends over for a delicious dinner and light some candles. Hang twinkle lights in your dorm room, and bake something chocolatey and warm. Enjoy a steaming cup of hot cocoa as the sun rises in the morning. Whatever you do, do it in community with friends and make things comfortable and full of good cheer.