Combating Winter Blues

students walking

Anyone who was in Vancouver for this past summer knows how amazing the weather was. The usual wildfire smoke never arrived, and we had a beautiful, warm and sunny summer. Now that we’re back at school, the weather is starting to match our moods – grey. Sadly, this is what we have to deal with for another eight months until spring returns and the sun shows its face once again. In the meantime, we have to deal with the effects the weather has on us. So I’ve compiled some tips to try out if you’re feeling down due to the weather:

 

Get outside

I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive to go outside when the weather is getting you down, but work with me. Going outside and embracing the weather, taking a walk or a nice sit in nature, like at Nitobe Garden or the Rose Garden, and accepting the weather for what it is can bring you a lot of peace. Being in the rain can be really great when you let it hit your skin. Not only will you feel more connected to nature itself, but being in nature is actually really good for you, according to a professor at the University of Rochester. Professor Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, explains in an article for the University of Rochester news that nature increases a person’s energy, and the article further explains that being in nature is linked to a greater sense of well-being.

 

Meditate

Practicing mindfulness meditation for a few minutes every day can make a big difference in your mood. According to HealthLinkBC, doing mindfulness-based stress reduction can help reduce stress, and ease anxiety and depression. It’s certainly not a cure-all, but it’s worth giving it a shot. You can even do this while you’re on your aforementioned nature walk, allowing yourself to pay attention to the present just for a little bit. It’s also easy to practice in your room, while you’re studying in the library and even on the bus. This can be as simple as closing your eyes, sitting in a comfortable position, and just breathing and accepting any thoughts or physical sensations as they come, and not pondering on them or trying to make them go away. Once you start doing it, you’ll get better at it and you might find it makes an improvement.

 

Get moving

Exercise is known to help elevate moods, and this is continually something I get told to do that I’ll admit I’m bad at. But exercise has been shown to elevate moods long-term and even just a little bit of movement can help. What’s the best way to exercise? Any way you exercise makes you feel good, according to The Washington Post. Easy ways to integrate exercise into your routine could be doing yoga, going for a walk or a jog, or lifting weights at the gym. With a beautiful campus and several options for gyms like the ARC or the Birdcoop, there are so many different ways get in some exercise!

 

These may be tips you’ve heard before, but there’s a reason for that: they can actually work really well! So go ahead and try these, and remember that consistency helps make them even more effective. It’s also worth noting that while most of us will probably feel at least a little bit dreary while we have shorter days and colder weather, but it can also be more extreme than that for some. According to HealthLinkBC, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) more commonly affects people living far from the equator, like we do in Vancouver. If you think you might have SAD, I would recommend reaching out to a professional, such as UBC Counselling Services and the Wellness Centre.

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