Finals are coming up. People are getting sick. It’s freezing cold outside and you have no motivation to get out of bed. It gets dark at 5 pm, for god’s sake! The only thing keeping you going is the holiday season- oh wait, never mind, all your winter plans might be canceled because of COVID-19.
Seasonal depression, aka the “winter blues,” is very real and can affect all of us in different ways. You may encounter fatigue and social withdrawal throughout these months, especially now that we are all cooped up in our houses.
Here are a few things you can do to lift your mood and make your days more enjoyable.
1. Participate in fun, festive activities. No, you don’t have to leave your house to be festive! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you sure can have a good time if you try. Decorate your room with colorful lights. Blast holiday music. Drink hot chocolate in your pajamas. Buy a new fuzzy sweater. Start a bonfire. Make goodie bags for the next time you see your friends. Watch Christmas movies. The possibilities are endless :)
2. Try not to take naps. Yes, I said it. I know naps seem like the best thing ever right now, but they can leave you feeling even more groggy and unproductive than you did before. Have you ever taken an afternoon nap and woken up when it’s dark outside and then realized you have 8 hours of homework left? Me too. I highly recommend doing homework when there’s still daylight because after it gets dark, your brain will automatically be like, “it’s time to relax!” and a task that should’ve taken 30 minutes ends up taking 3 hours. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.
3. Get some sunlight. I understand that not everyone lives in areas where it’s sunny right now, but if you do, take advantage of it! I know a lot of us in California still are able to go outside without freezing to death. Even if you live in a cold area, it’s probably a good idea to at least get some fresh air once in a while. It really does help get rid of that headache and eye strain.
4. Appreciate online school. You’re probably like, um, what is she even saying at this point? Online school sucks! I totally get that, but there are some things that I have been trying to appreciate lately. You can literally lounge around in pajamas all day and cuddle up in a bunch of blankets whenever you feel like it. You don’t have to put on 5 layers of clothing at 6 am when you’re half asleep just to come home cold and wet from the rain at the end of the school day. As odd as it sounds, you may miss being online juuust a little bit when you actually have to go back to school again.
5. Change up your food routine. Sometimes it may feel as if you are eating the same thing every. Single. Day. Eating healthier will make your body feel better, but at the same time don’t feel pressured to eat healthy ALL the time. Try to create a balanced, weekly meal plan for yourself where you map out what you will eat each day and stick to it. This way, you won’t be up at 2 am trying to figure out if Doritos and pumpkin pie will be sufficient for dinner because you have no other options. I recommend using apps like Tasty for new recipes! Cooking and baking can also turn into a fun hobby.
So, there you have it. If you are going through phases with your moods, you are not alone! Just remember that it is normal for a lot of us to feel this way and I hope you are able to incorporate some of these tips into your daily routine.