Winter is Coming…. (Or it already has!)

a person riding skis down a snow covered slope

December is here and it's officially Winter!!  While that is really cool (both figuratively and temperature wise) there are certainly some things about Winter that can be a bit difficult to handle! And no I am not referring to Freshers Flu but something more concerning and very common.

Have you been feeling unpleasant or unhappy, not been able to concentrate on your work or just getting a little too emotional all of a sudden? If you have then you might be suffering with the Winter Blues. 

Don’t worry, it's quite normal as many of us are used to a very different climatic and temperature and suddenly living in a cold country can sometimes mean we have to adjust to the changes this will have on our body and the way it deals with the sudden temperature drop.

I remember during my first year, I suffered with the Winter Blues but by taking some very simple steps I managed to deal with this temporary period and came out the other end stronger and happier. Read on for my advice on beating these symptoms and enjoying the best parts of Winter:

  • Try and get some sun

I know this can be challenging with these endless grey and rainy days but when we do have a clear day, get up and get some fresh air in the Winter sun. Sunlight triggers the brain to produce hormones that uplifts our mood and it leads to the production of neural chemicals that makes us more active and focused. So yes there is a lot of science to back up this first piece of advice!  But I can hear you shout, "Yes but what about days when there is no sun?",  in this case, try and create a well-lit, warm and comfortable surrounding as this can help replicate the affect the sun has on us. 

  • Exercise

I cannot stress enough about benefits of being active for 20-30 mins per day, especially during the Winter months.  Working out helps release the endorphin hormones that make you feel happy and generally alleviate all traces of stress, anxiety and worry. Chose an activity that you like and get moving!!  I get myself to the gym with a friend or attend one of the many Res Life fitness classes.   The benefits of exercise are enormous and this is what helped me a lot during my experience of the Winter Blues.

  • Seek support

Finally, if you feel you are struggling and starting to feel isolated and depressed then don’t hesitate to seek support. Speak to your family, a friend or just talk to your Residence Life Mentor. Mentors are always a great first point of contact and they can help you with most types of issues or they can sign-post you where to seek further help.  Mentors are available Monday to Sunday, 9-11pm, during term time.  I remember chatting with my mentor who suggested these wonderful tips which helped me get rid of my Winter Blues.  But if you are suffering from more than the Winter Blues then remember help is always available.  Click here to find out more about accessing Mental Health Support whilst at University.

Hopefully, these tips give you the warm advice to help you survive the cold weather!! 

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