During winter, the colder and darker days can affect everyone’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. This can cause a decrease in energy, and you may be tempted to sleep more, put off exercising and avoid social interactions. However, this kind of behavior can be detrimental to your well-being.
One of Cumberland’s newest counselors, Ashley Bateman, shared ways students can maintain their mental health during the winter months.
Make Social Connections
“Winter is definitely a tough time of year for most of us and the pandemic has only made this worse. We are isolated not only due to weather but also due to most people avoiding crowds and high traffic areas because of COVID. My biggest recommendation would be to reach out and connect with others. You can connect by text, phone, Zoom/Facetime, or in person. Social support is huge in all walks of life.”
Spend Time Outdoors
“It is helpful to take advantage of sunny days and times outside between classes. Dress warm and get outside when possible. Be present when walking to classes. Focus on the sights, sounds, smells, and physical sensations of being outside instead of rushing to class preoccupied with the busyness of life. When safe, take a nice drive and enjoy views that may not be available during blooming seasons.”
“Exercise is beneficial to combat depression so either dress appropriately and walk/jog/hike with a friend, use the campus facilities, or stream your favorite type of exercise through YouTube or other free services and exercise in your room.”
Find the Light
“Lastly, when indoors, incorporate light more than usual – open curtains, sit near windows, use higher wattage bulbs, and/or string lights with white or colored bulbs.”
Putting these recommendations into practice is a good place to start. However, counseling services may be needed in addition to these practices. If you wish to schedule an appointment with one of Cumberland’s counselors, email firstname.lastname@example.org.