How to Beat the Winter Blues
by Calli Jansen
Snow blanketing the backyard, curled up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a good movie playing…this sounds like an ideal winter day. However, what about the days where it is -5 degrees and you’re trekking across campus to an exam with a case of never-ending sniffles? Cold weather and lack of sunlight can definitely take a toll on your body, both physically and mentally. Here are some ideas to beat those blues when winter seems to go on forever.
Take care of your body
The sniffles, constantly being so cold you can feel it in your bones, a cough that causes your whole body to shake, your nose being rubbed raw, and the perpetual tiredness in the winter months can really affect your body. In order to get out ahead of these things, there are multiple small things you can do to take care of your physical self. First, make sure you are getting enough fluids. In the winter, people do not sweat as much which leads them to think they do not need as much water. This is a giant misconception which can lead to dehydration and trap bad bacteria in your body.
Additionally, in order to fuel your body properly, make sure you are eating well. Fruits and vegetables are never on the top of a college student’s list, but they are particularly important in the winter, especially vitamin C packed foods like oranges.
And lastly, a major issue with college students is under-dressing for the weather. Forget about making a fashion statement and put on that puffy coat! Make sure you are wearing socks and a hat, too, as that is where you can lose the most heat. Continually being cold causes your body to work harder on keeping you warm, detracting from its efforts to fight off harmful bacteria lingering in your classrooms. Get a cuddly blanket to snuggle up on the couch with during late night study sessions and drink warm liquids or take a hot shower to help fight off those lingering chills.
Take care of your mind
The cold weather, lack of sunshine, and the extra stress that come with winter finals are a recipe for winter blues. No one wants to get out of bed when their alarm goes off at 7 a.m., especially when their room is freezing. This is a recipe for disaster as many will choose to roll back over and sleep through their morning classes. Others will get up, be grumpy and drag themselves to class, but not as their most attentive selves.
No one wants to go outside in cold weather so you have to mentally prepare to go the extra mile to stay warm in the winter. Most college housing has windows older than our parents which let a lot of cold air seep into a room. A good trick to keep your bedroom a little warmer is to hang up a throw blanket in front of the window to help trap some of the cold air and make getting out of bed in the morning just a little bit easier.
Additionally, with the cold weather comes the sun setting at 4 p.m. and it still being dark when you wake up in the morning. It makes you want to be in bed at all hours. In order to beat the continual darkness, invest in lights that produce artificial sunlight to put extra pep in your step.
Finally, keep yourself mentally motivated to work on assignments and study for exams by scheduling study breaks. Getting up and moving around will not only refresh your brain, but also help warm up your body. And remember to reward your hard work with that cup of hot chocolate and movie by the fire!
Overall, the winter is a tough time for many between illnesses and a lack of motivation that occurs. But taking a few simple steps like the ones here will help it be more manageable for most.