Are you feeling a little blue? It’s perfectly OK to feel down sometimes—and it's incredibly common during the winter months. The trick is to not let it get too strong a hold of you. So we've come up with some tips to help you get over the winter blues until you can bask in the (relative) warmth of spring.
1. Get outside!
I know I said it's cold and wet outside, but getting outdoors could lift your spirits! Research has shown that natural light increases serotonin which is the feel-good hormone. Make sure you're not cooped up inside all day, and go get some fresh air. Fun idea: grab your friends and go tobogganing!
2. Get some vitamin D
Your body is designed to produce vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, which can be tricky during the cold shorter days of the winter months. Talk to your doctor about ways you can increase your vitamin D intakes, like taking a vitamin D supplement.
3. Eat healthy
Although you may crave pizza, it's best to not stuff yourself with unhealthy food (e.g. refined flour and sugar) or you may start to feel sluggish. Try some healthy options, like whole grains, spinach, yams, broccoli, beans, zucchini, lentils, and skim milk. Food is your body’s fuel and you need it to have energy and feel good!
4. Brighten up your life
Since the days are shorter, you may need to brighten up your space. If you're finding it really dark, try adding some brighter colours to your space or open the curtains and let that glorious natural light in.
5. Stay social
We know, when you look outside and it’s snowing or pelting down with freezing rain, you really don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. But it's important for your mental well-being to stay socially active. As difficult as it may be, get up, get dressed, and spend time with your family and friends—you’ll thank yourself in the end.
6. Make your bed every day
If you make your bed every day you've already accomplished something before you even really start your day! Once it's made it may keep you from getting back into it. And it will make your parents proud.
This one is really tough. It's hard to get motivated enough to go to the gym in the cold weather or even exercise outside. But exercise produces endorphins which will help you feel better. So make it part of your daily routine and put it in your calendar. Perhaps try some of Dal’s free fitness classes:
Better yet, combine socializing, getting outdoors, and physical activity into one and find a fun, outdoor activity you can do with friends!
8. Get your groove on
Listening to cheery or happy music may improve your mood. And dance like there's nobody watching!
If you feel that it's more than the winter blues getting you down, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at Student Health & Wellness with a counsellor or nurse, or check out the many free groups and workshops available. Learn more at dal.ca/studenthealth.