Author: Ashley Dubois
Oh January, don’t we all love January? It is the beginning of a new year and of course a new semester for us in college. But for some of us, January is when we experience the winter blues. Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues is a form of depression that is related to the change in seasons. It usually begins and ends at about the same times every year and tends to make you feel less energized and moody. The winter blues effects a lot of us in different ways. Here ways some of our students cope.
- Let the sunshine in!
There is a lot less sunshine in the winter months – this could actually be one of the reasons why our moods change and it is so much harder to get out of bed in the morning. When I say, “let the sunshine in,” I mean literally light up your room, or wherever you hang out the most! Invest in a sun lamp a dawn simulator (a device that gradually lights up your room in the morning). Open the curtains when it is bright outside! Sit near a window at school!
- Get outside!
If you are willing to hit the gym, DO IT! Exercise is a great way to beat the winter blues! If you are not really a gym person, there are a ton workouts online that you can do in your own home! You can also take a walk or go out and enjoy a winter sport like hockey or skiing! Try to get 150 minutes of physical activity a week – and I suppose you can count the stairs if you have classes on the 4th floor!
- Try something new!
With the semester getting started and the workload getting heavier, the last thing we are thinking about is getting a dumb hobby. But why not a cool or low maintenance hobby? Grow a plant; get a fish; start painting or building a puzzle with your roommate; spice things up in the kitchen; or maybe just go on a mini shopping spree! Having something to do outside of school and work is a great way to keep you busy and mentally engaged!
- Celebrate and be social!
Ever thought about throwing a party? Go for it! Get together with some friends for dinner or join an intramural team that you can see once a week at games! Celebrate yourself! Treat yourself to some ice cream or a nice dinner!
- Talk about it
If you’re feeling down and you’ve got the blues you should definitely talk about it – because you’re not alone. Feeling a bit down – especially when the seasons are changing – is very common. Try doing some of these things discussed above especially speaking with your close friends and family. Try connecting with an expert resource such as Counselling and Accessibility. There are many free resources and helplines that you can use at any time, such as Good 2 Talk (1-866-925-5454) or the Mental Health (1-866-531-2600).
Bell Canada has provided a toolkit (http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/toolkit) on all the things you can do to help end the stigma! Use #BellLetsTalk today social media and if you’re with Bell, every text or call and Bell will contribute 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. “So let’s work together to create a stigma-free Canada!”
*If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please contact 1-866-925-5454 or http://good2talk.ca/ Good2Talk is a free, confidential and anonymous service that offers professional counselling, mental health information, and connections to local resources.
*This article is based on student views and individual cases, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis professional please call the helpline provided or your doctor.