Let’s be honest, it’s almost too easy to succumb to the winter darkness and wish that life weren’t so glum. We are all guilty of sleeping through a couple morning classes, avoiding going to the dining hall or walking to the gym, or even secluding ourselves from our friends. The truth is, we resort to these things with the hope that we can avoid winter altogether. FYI: Winter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but there are ways to enjoy it! Whether you suffer from seasonal depression or you are just a college student trying to get by, we have some tips for you for staying happy through the winter!
1. Leave your dorm room more than you think you should. If you live in a single or have roommates that you do not get along with, spending time away from the dark hole that is your room will keep you active and help you avoid falling into a slump. Being active increases production of the chemical dopamine, which makes you feel happy.
2. Exercise whenever you get the chance. The idea of walking to and from the gym in 18 degree weather can be intimidating, but it is worth the trek in the end. Again, exercising increases the level of dopamine production in your brain, reducing stress and increasing happiness! So, try taking a study break or replacing your next nap with a workout at the gym (or outside if you can handle that). If you really cannot bear the walk to the gym, there are exercises you can do right in your dorm room! You are guaranteed to feel better!
3. Keep your room clean: Reducing clutter around you creates more space for things that make you happy!
4. Decorate your room with warm twinkly lights or use a sun lamp! For the time that you do spend in your room, it is essential to have cheerful and welcoming lighting. Christmas lights don’t have an expiration date…Keep them up all year round! It is impossible not to smile as they dazzle your walls. Sun lamps or light boxes are common therapies for Seasonal Affective Disorder, so give one a try and enjoy the sunlight inside when there isn’t any outside!
5. Plan meal dates with friends who live far away on campus. As the snow and ice piles up on the pathways, spending time with friends who live beyond a 100-foot radius requires more effort. Put in the effort! You will thank yourself or your friend for braving the elements to catch up over a hot cup of coffee or Taco Tuesday. Everybody needs to eat, so why not use it as an excuse to hang with your best friend across campus?
6. Dress in cute winter apparel! While spandex and sweaters are the easiest and most comfortable items to throw on, wearing a blazer or adding a collared shirt under the sweater once in a while can make you feel more proactive. Tackle the day in a fun pair of boots or a bright colored pair of pants! Not only will you get more done, but you will enjoy doing it. Don’t just resort to wearing any old hat to stay warm, but instead find one that catches your eye, whether it has fur, patterns, or even a pom-pom. Who doesn’t love receiving compliments while printing out homework in the library?!
7. Play in the snow! It’s as simple as that. Next snowfall, grab your friends and go sledding in the arboretum! Don’t just watch the snow pile up outside your window; go jump in it.
Stay warm and stay happy!!