How to Beat the Winter Blues

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

As students return from Thanksgiving break and prepare for upcoming finals, they might be feeling a sense of heaviness or more apathetic than usual.

Fear not. This is a normal experience, as the days are shortened and night comes quicker than expected. 

“Winter blues” has been coined to describe the sadness one feels in the later months of the year. 

Although these blues are not permanent, if an individual is not careful, the blues can develop into a clinical diagnosis known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to the National Institute of Health.

Here are five tips to help students beat the winter blues.

  1. Go outside and relish in the sunlight.

During the winter months, the challenge for students to take time for themselves and get outside becomes a forgotten task during their free time. Typically it becomes colder, darker, and more dreary outside. 

One of the easiest ways to get over these blues is to get outside or even go to a brightly lit space and absorb some vital vitamin D. This is best planned early in the day. 

Creating time for oneself to enjoy the day is very important. If only for a few minutes a day, it has been proven to improve both mood and physical health, leading to reduced stress and increased self-esteem, according to the Student Conservation Organization.

Whether it be as simple as a walk or something more complex like a specific activity, enjoying the sunlight is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to beat the winter blues. 

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise 

Another simple way of beating the winter blues is staying active, even when it is dark and cold outside. Exercise is often used as a natural way to improve general health.

It has also been proven that exercising during the winter months can increase necessary neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, according to Healthline. These transmitters help the brain become energized and get into a positive rhythm. 

Fortunately, Hampton University provides its students with the unique advantage of an on-campus gym located on the second floor of the student center and other amenities located throughout the campus. While going through proper protocol to access these conveniences, students are encouraged to be healthy physically and mentally at all times. Don’t forget to take your mask when you go!

  1. Keep in contact with your support system

Loneliness and isolation can make the effects of the winter blues feel worse than usual.

When dealing with the winter blues, finding a way to connect with supportive individuals is key to changing your mood. 

As some students are not Virginia residents, it is very common for students to become homesick and miss their support system. Try to set up calls with friends and family to help subside any negative feelings. 

Doing so with people you feel comfortable confiding in can be tremendously beneficial. This may include outdoor activities, talking on FaceTime or brunch and lunch dates.

  1. Eat well and take vitamins.

Although this can be easier said than done, due to students’ limited resources and funds, eating right and staying on top of a vitamin schedule can be overlooked and undervalued. 

Students should look into changing their diet for the better and stay away from too many carbohydrates and sweets. These foods are known to slow down individuals during this time of year. 

Green vegetables and iron-rich foods can start a healthy diet for students while on campus. Folic acids and vitamins such as B6 and B12 are known to help with feelings of fatigue. 

  1. Seek out professional help.

If these lifestyle modifications and other seasonal adjustments do not provide a sense of relief from the winter blues, consider seeking professional help. 

Psychotherapy is highly recommended to treat depressive disorders. Although not overnight, students can gain a major benefit from talking with educated professionals who are trained to help individuals face the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis.

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