Now I may just call it “winter gloom” but let’s be honest; what I’m really talking about here is a little thing called seasonal affective disorder. You may even have it yourself and not even know it! How would you know?
Do you find yourself feeling a little depressed during the cold, winter months? What about when you happen to live somewhere that’s rainy all the time, like London or Seattle? It might seem silly, but it’s a real thing; some people just need more sun than others.
No really, I’m not even kidding! Seasonal affective disorder is a change of mood that’s brought on by decreasing amounts of daylight. That means short winter days are all it takes to trigger an episode. And if you’re already prone to having depressing thoughts, or already struggle with anxiety, a couple months of short, gray days (combined with the stress of final exams) can push you right over the edge. So how do you keep your head above water?
1.) Get out in the daylight while you can. SAD is caused by a lack of daylight, so when there is available daylight, get out there! Go for a walk, a drive, or just go sit in the park. Take a friend with you or go by yourself. Personally, I love going for a long drive; it’s the perfect way to clear your head!
2.) When indoors, position yourself near windows. Need to head to the library to do study for finals? Don’t bury yourself on the basement level, go up a floor or two and find a quiet study spot next to a window. You can even rearrange your dorm room to have your bed closer to your window so when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is a little daylight.
3.) Exercise! Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel instantly happier. And all you really need is 30 minutes a day; plus you can always combine it with something outside.
Freezing temperatures make it so you’d rather stay indoors? No problem! Head to the gym (a school gym membership should be included in your tuition fees) and try and get a treadmill facing a window. Or just blast some of your favorite music in your dorm room and have a personal dance party for one. It still counts as exercise!
4.) Trick yourself. Surrounding yourself with pictures of the ocean or home during the summer time may sound like a futile attempt to make yourself feel better, but it really does work. After all, when you’re feeling homesick would you rather sit in a blank room, or one covered in pictures of friends and family? There’s a reason college kids line their walls with photos; it makes them feel better! Do the same with this: put calendar pictures of summer days in between your photos. It’ll be a wall of inspiration.
5.) Make a fun change. Changing it up in the drab of winter can bring a little excitement into your life. It doesn’t have to be crazy; just get a new haircut or try out a new bakery in town. A little bit goes a long way!
And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spray, safes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lighting, fun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!
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