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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

It’s that time of year again: the snow, the temperature and our moods are all plummeting at once. The phenomenon of experiencing mood shifts in tandem with a change of season is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly abbreviated to SAD), and it is especially common during the transition to winter. Decreased exposure to sunlight is compounded this year by our need to isolate, making everyone feel especially lonely. Although this isn’t an easy time for many of us, there are lots of ways to help manage these feelings and cope with SAD during COVID-19.

Practice Mindfulness

When everything around us feels chaotic and scary, it’s easy to want to tune out and further isolate ourselves. This reaction feels like a safety mechanism, but in reality, it robs us of any opportunities we have for joy. When we can’t engage in our usual coping mechanisms or our regular routines of human connection, we must appreciate the things that we can do to find joy in our lives. This is done through mindfulness: taking time to appreciate and acknowledge the present moment. By taking a pause, so many aspects of your life become more vibrant. Tastes and smells become stronger, colours feel brighter and you gain a deepened appreciation for the things you may typically take for granted every day. Incorporating a mindfulness practice into your daily routine can bring more meaning to your life and help you combat the bleakness that the season may bring.

Reach Out

Practicing physical distancing is extremely important in protecting ourselves and our families. However, this does not mean that we need to stay socially isolated. With technologies such as cell phones, social media and group-based apps (Netflix Party, multi-player games and more!), we can find opportunities to connect from home. Take the time to reach out and spend time with your friends remotely. Zoom calls can be used in place of holiday gatherings, and group streaming platforms will enable you and your friends to continue your holiday movie binge-watching traditions. Most importantly, reach out to professors, mental health professionals and friends if you are struggling. People can only help you if they know that you are struggling, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need to stay supported throughout this time.

Make a Plan

If you know that mental health is typically an area of struggle for you – or even if it isn’t, as mental health has an impact on everyone to some degree – now is the time to make yourself a safety plan of coping strategies. Write out a list of your favourite self-care ideas, your strategies for maintaining your well-being on a daily basis and who you can call or text when you need support. All of these things will help prepare you to fight back against the seasonal blues.

If You Are in Crisis

If you do not feel that you can keep yourself safe, call 911 or the crisis line of your choice to ensure that you receive help. For all other mental health concerns, HERE24/7 at 1-844-437-3247 is a great resource to contact when you need additional support. The Canadian government has also compiled a list of several places to contact throughout the pandemic when you’re in need, which can be found here.

Above all, remember that even when things feel isolated, you are not alone. There are people and resources available to support you. Just like the seasons, all emotions and situations are temporary, and you can make it through this.

Sarah Katherine

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Sarah is a 4th year Music Education student at Laurier University. She is passionate about wellness, education, singing, and writing, and hopes to make a difference in the world through the integration of her passions. 
Chelsea Bradley

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Chelsea finished her undergrad with a double major in Biology and Psychology and a minor in Criminology. She loves dogs way too much and has an unhealthy obsession with notebooks and sushi. You can find her quoting memes and listening to throwbacks in her spare - okay basically all - her time. She joined Her Campus in the Fall of 2019 as an editor, acted as one of two senior editors for the Winter 2020 semester and worked alongside Rebecca as one of the Campus Correspondents for the 2020-2021 year!