With the chilling weather and diminishing hours of daylight, there are a bevy of factors that can take a toll on your mental and physical health this season. In the coming weeks, as much as you would like to hibernate in your room or in the library, it’s important to pay attention to your well-being and take care of yourself during this stressful time before finals. Some of these tips may seem common, but are things that people can easily forget to do or put aside, and should not be taken for granted.
Catch some rays
Seasonal depression is a real thing, and even if you think you may not be affected enough to merit a formal diagnosis, your daily routine may feel bogged down by the decreasing daylight. There’s something disheartening about entering a building when the sun is still out and leaving when it’s pitch black, and you’re not alone if this feeling negatively affects your mood or motivation.
“Lack of sunlight – secondary to staying inside – can negatively affect mood, even for those without diagnosable condition like seasonal affect disorder,” Dr. Deborah Offner, a clinical psychologist, said in an interview with SheKnows. She suggests encouraging yourself to bundle up and step outside for some time every day, or even buying special lights for your room can help improve your mood and help keep you on track with your daily functions.
Keep yourself hydrated and moisturized
The harsh Storrs wind is no doubt going to wreak havoc on your skin, and chapped lips and dry hands aren’t going to do you any favors. Invest in a moisturizer for your face and lotion for your body and remember to apply once a day, or at least every few days. Continually drinking water throughout the day keeps your skin moist and your body hydrated. In general, the habit of staying hydrated is a basic healthy practice, but can be easy to forget, so here’s your reminder!
Take some time to exercise
With the slush of exams and papers approaching before break and finals, you may decide to push your trip to the gym aside, whether to study, take a nap or actually eat a proper meal. These are all fair and important reasons, but don’t completely axe your workouts from your weekly routine. Commit to working out for a certain amount of times in a week, like three to four times. That way, if you need to take some time for yourself on one day, you can just remind yourself to go another day in the week. Any form of physical exercise will help boost your energy, keep your immune system up and gives you a break from frying your brain over studying. Bring friends with you to help motivate each other!
Spend time with friends and family
Taking time away from the stressors of academics and extracurriculars is key during these trying times. Call your parents and check in with them or take a break to watch a movie with a friend. Quality time with people you enjoy being around will keep you mentally healthy and help you improve your mood, and goes hand in hand with the themes of love and gratefulness with the upcoming holidays. These people will no doubt appreciate your company.
Stay cozy and bundled
Do not underestimate the cold weather on campus, with the wind making it worse. Always remember to bundle up, with a hat or hood and gloves to keep your extremities and head warm, as they get cold the easiest. It’s better to be safe than sorry, because you can always take off some layers if you get too hot. And after a long day, treat yourself to a nice, warm shower or bath to relax and unwind.
Enjoy what you eat
Fresh produce is harder to come by during the winter, so take advantage of it when you can. Don’t forget to get your daily servings of veggies and fruits, which will help keep your immune system strong to fight off all those colds, as well as provide you with much-needed nutrients to power through your days. Treat yourself to a cup of tea or hot chocolate or a bowl of hearty soup to stay warm. Indulge in seasonal flavors like peppermint or gingerbread or seasonal foods (like Thanksgiving food) because why not?
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.