Students often have mixed emotions about attending university during the wintertime. On the one hand, you have the fun of holiday parties, movie nights, and other seasonal activities, like baking treats in your apartment. On the other hand, you need to deal with homesickness when you come back to university after winter break, the stresses of classes, and the cold weather that can make it unpleasant to spend much time outdoors. This can lead to the winter blues: a condition defined as feelings of sadness due to the days being shorter and colder. If you’re suffering from the winter blues, here are a few things you can do.
1. Stay Active
It may be tempting to give up on your fitness routine over the winter because the idea of changing into your workout clothes or jumping into a pool are unappealing. In fact, it’s more important than ever to exercise during the winter. Moving releases endorphins, which improve your mood. If you’re struggling with motivation, arrange with a friend to work out together.
2. Spend More Time Outdoors
If possible, you should try to exercise outdoors. If you prefer to work out at the gym or at fitness classes, though, it’s worth finding other ways to spend time outdoors every day. Not only will the fresh air energize you, if you walk briskly, you’ll regulate your breathing, which reduces stress.
3. Create a Sleep Schedule
It’s crucial to sleep the right number of hours during the winter. Although it may be extra tempting to skip morning classes (especially if it’s still dark outside when you wake up), oversleeping will make it harder to beat the winter blues. Set both a bedtime and a wake-up time — and stick to them even when you have no commitments in the morning. You can also improve your sleep quality by steering clear of caffeine after the early afternoon and putting away screens at least one hour before you go to bed.
4. Find Activities You Enjoy
At university, you’re surrounded by potential friends. Find like-minded people to spend time with to fit more activities you enjoy into your week. For instance, you could search for more extracurriculars to join, hang out with roommates, or make brunch plans on weekends to give yourself a reason to get up.
5. Seek Help for More Serious Conditions
The winter blues is a common but mild ailment. It is characterized by a lack of motivation, fatigue, and a low mood — but it usually goes away once you’re back into a routine and enjoying life at university again. A more serious condition is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a clinical diagnosis that has a severe impact on a person’s capability to function. If you’re experiencing SAD, you may want to spend all your time alone, your academic performance may suffer, and you may have trouble sleeping.
If you’re concerned that you’re suffering from something more serious than the winter blues, it’s important to seek professional help. For instance, you could talk to a counselor — there may be free or discounted services available to you on campus.
6. Use a Light Therapy Lamp
Light therapy is a great investment for beating the winter blues and even coping with SAD. You simply turn on a light box that contains fluorescent bulbs as soon as you wake up in the morning, keeping it on for at least 30 minutes. Most people notice an almost immediate improvement to their symptoms. This is helpful when the days are at their shortest, especially if you’re unable to spend much time in the sunlight.
You’ll find it easier to beat the winter blues if you have an apartment where you feel comfortable and at home. For premier Brock off-campus living, there’s Foundry Lofts. With amenities ranging from a movie theater and fitness center to onsite parking and an outdoor courtyard, you’ll have everything you need for the ultimate student experience. We have limited availability for move-ins this winter — contact us now.