Spring semester has started—you’re half way finished with the year! Congratulations! So why are you not excited? Maybe you’re even having trouble leaving that warm, cozy bed to brave the cold and make it to class on time. Wintertime can cause many of us to feel a little depressed. How to beat the winter blues, keep your grades up and make it to spring break and beyond? Here are some easy, breezy DIY tips for college students on making it through the cold, dark winter months.
Why you feel down
There are a multitude of reasons you may be feeling less than perky after the holidays. College can be challenging after all, and the initial excitement you felt in the fall may have worn off. In “How to handle the college winter blues,” posted on January 25, 2012, for U.S. News & World Report, Kelci Lynn Lucier offered tips for beating the blues. First she recommended “focusing on what you’re doing well instead of dwelling on what you don’t like about college or what you think you should be doing.”
And if you are feeling burned out, this might be the time to try something new. Is there a club or group you have been intrigued by on campus, but haven’t bothered to join? Now is the time. If your schedule can handle it, maybe you could get a part-time job on campus that could introduce you to some new people?
If there is something you truly dread about your current schedule, see if you can cut it out. As Lucier advised, “Is there something you wish you could be doing instead, and if so, is there a way to make that happen?” Consider doing whatever it takes to re-energize yourself, and, above all, keep your eye on the real prize—graduation.
Tips to beat the blues
Writer Jenn for the blog Every College Girl posted “Five ways to battle the winter blues” with some suggestions on how to get through the winter months:
- Eat Chocolate—“Quality chocolate is one of the foods that contain a natural amino acid that your body can actually crave when you’re down,” Jenn wrote. But don’t go crazy. Gaining a ton of weight won’t help, so be sure to enjoy in moderation.
- Go Outside—Sunlight can help boost your mood, so make every effort to get out into the natural light. And if you happen to look super cute in your winter gear, all the better.
- Spring Clean—Sometimes taking charge and organizing your life can help you feel more in control. Take the items you aren’t using and organize a swap with your dorm mates.
- Make Plans—You may feel like hibernating, but try to make plans and stick with them. Doing things with others can help boost your mood, even if you simply invite friends over for a movie and popcorn night.
- Get Distracted—Allow yourself the occasional do-nothing day. Curl up with something great to watch (or, gasp, even read!) and relax. Sometimes all you need is a day off.
More serious blues
If you try all of these and you still can’t shake your winter blues, you may have something more serious going on. Lexy Gross wrote on November 18, 2013, in USA Today “SAD on campus? Could be more than the ‘winter blues’” about seasonal affective disorder or SAD. The symptoms of SAD include “loss of motivation, a drop in self-confidence and the inability to complete projects.”
“Judith Akin, a psychiatrist at Vanderbilt Medical Center, says SAD is most likely to appear in the late teens or early twenties and is most prevalent among women,” Gross reported. She added that research has shown SAD affects anywhere from 5 to 13 percent of the population. Other symptoms include “decreased energy level, irritability, an inability to concentrate, a low sex drive and carbohydrate cravings.” If you think you may have something more serious going on than a simple case of the winter blues, it is important to talk to your doctor. You can reference Lorraine Savage’s Cengage Brain post, “How to get over the winter blues: Seasonal affective disorder treatment,” for more tips on how to handle SAD.
Do you have any tips on how to beat the winter blues? Share them in the comments below.