How to Kick the Winter Blues

Have you noticed everyone around you getting sick or tired, apparently wallowing in an ongoing sense of sadness? Have you begun to start the majority of your small talk with “Yeh, I’m alright, but tired?” Have you looked out the window at the gloomy skies and wet sidewalks and thought “Nope, not today?” 

If so, fear not, for it is not the mere stress of university and your workload at play. The winter blues are a thing. A sciencey proven thing. 

Perhaps you all nod knowingly in regards to this statement. We have all heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a form of depression that is triggered by shortened daylight hours lasting until Spring. But I would suggest that shorter days are not always the culprit because it is said to affect only 5% of Americans. Instead I ask you to look at the list below with the idea in mind to make a few adjustments to your not-so-perfect Winter routine. Because although it’s easier to lounge about in the blanket with arms you received for Christmas, or Lord about the house in that dressing gown you got when you were twelve, ‘self-made Winter lump’ probably doesn't fit on your C.V too well. 

 

1) You’re probably not moving enough. Regular exercise is tried and tested as a mood booster and it works. Thirty minutes a day can take your mind off your intellectual work, but doesn’t add to the stress created by the prospect of wasted time. It also makes that walk to class fractionally better or makes that climb up the stairs feel a little less like a hike. 

2) Are you eating right? As it is winter, you need comfort food. But do you need so much of it? Diets lacking in nutrition can leave you lacking energy. In fact, if you’re planning on drinking in the evening its recommended that you eat only fruits, vegetables, and lean protein during the day to keep you perky.

3) You’re spending too much time alone. Perhaps you’re fresh out of halls, and you don’t live in a system guaranteed to make you socialise no matter how you’re feeling. Normally, walking out your front door ensures you’ve at least said hi to five people and bye to your three lingering flatmates. Alas, now you’ve got to text people at least two days in advance to ensure your schedules don’t clash. If the prospect is too daunting, you could make a difference to your own life and others by volunteering at a nursing home or an animal shelter, a service made easier for you at St Andrews by SVS: https://yoursvs.org.uk/ (they also refund your travel costs!).

 

4) You’re drinking too much alcohol. It makes you tired. Sorry. 

5) Stop staying inside. It’s tempting and in the short term it feels great! It feels like self-care to the max! However in reality, even if you don’t tend to thrive in social situations, social isolation puts you at a far greater risk of mental health problems. So pull on your warmest clothing and waddle out into the great unknown.