We’ve all had moments over summer when we’ve been sat in our pants with the fridge open, just trying to cool down, and we’ve though to ourselves ‘I can’t wait for winter! The lovely snow, the frosty mornings, the clear skies! I can’t wait till then!’
But then November rolls around, the miserable sleety rain washes away the last vestiges of a magnificent summer, we forget what daylight looks like and resign ourselves to four months of hibernation and junk food because everything is just horrible.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD – possibly the most apt acronym ever) is a real and horrible thing, and if you really think you’re suffering from it then you should probably go see your GP – the NHS has a useful page here. But the cold and lack of daylight can get us all down, so we’ve come up with a few suggestions to help you stay cheerful over the dreich times.
It’s easy to slip into a miserable malaise over winter, with the combination of upcoming exam stress and horrible weather tag teaming the tail end of your loan to make like perhaps not as much fun as it can be. But we’ll be running some great blogs about exam prep over the next few weeks, and Sophie has been writing some great blogs about how you can eat well for less, so it’s not all terrible – and there is research to show that training yourself to think positively can have a big impact on your mental health.
So whether you’re a glass half open or a glass half full kind of person, have a read of this article and see if you can manage to fit some of the advice into your daily routine.
It’s tempting to retreat into your own little bubble when it’s so miserable out; we don’t blame you, sometimes curling up with Netflix feels like the only valid option. But once again, there’s research to show that a lack of social interaction can actually be as bad for you as smoking, which is pretty scary.
So make sure you get out there and see people – especially on the weekends, when you’re not getting out to lectures and societies already. Why not cook a lovely Sunday breakfast for the people in your flat (there’s nothing better to get people out of bed than the smell of sizzling bacon) or get involved with some of the activities that ResLife have going on. You could even organise your own day trip somewhere on a weekend – which leads us nicely on to…
Get Lots of Sunshine
Our bodies need daylight. Actual, direct sunlight – not the harsh flicker of strip lights, or that nice lamp that your auntie gave you – you need to get out in the sun. And that’s tricky at this time of year – you could find yourself in lectures before the sun comes out, and not out until it’s set again. So you’re going to need to make a bit of an effort.
Make sure you make the most of your time – if you have an hour for lunch, don’t spend it all sat indoors – go out for a half hour walk in the fresh air. Most of the food outlets on campus will do you something lovely to take away so there’s no need to go hungry, and we do have a very pleasant campus for a stroll – even in the grey and the drizzle.
If you can get out somewhere on the weekend then definitely do so – a bit of seaside air will work wonders, but if you can’t get that far (or you don’t want to travel) then just get out for a walk where you are. If you’re popping into town maybe walk instead of getting the bus, which will also help out with…
Get Plenty of Exercise
You probably already know this, but exercise releases endorphins in your brain, and that makes you feel good. You’ll also likely sleep better if you’ve done some physical exercise, which will leave you set up much better for the next day – and so the cycle will continue.
It’s really easy to let your usual exercise regime trail off a bit in the winter – it’s hard to motivate yourself to get out in the murk for a run, or sometimes even to walk to the gym if it’s raining – but it’s really worth the effort. Hull Sport (previously Campus Sport) have a magnificent range of activities for you to get involved with, which can be a great way of meeting new people and socialising too. And the Fitness Suite at the Beacon is the ideal place to have a workout and being on campus it’s super easy to tack it on to the start or end of your day – or even in the middle if you have a big break between lectures and seminars.
Also, and we particularly like this, it turns out that sex is really good for you too, and in a multitude of different ways. So (not that you’ll need one) there’s a great excuse to have some sexytimes over winter – and indeed all year round too. And remember you can get free advice and contraceptives from Hull University Union…
Eat Good Food
Now. We don’t for a moment believe that there’s some amazing magic food that will miraculously cure all your ailments; nor do we believe that takeaway pizza is not a valid and delicious part of any diet. That just ain’t no way for us to live. What we do believe, however, is that a generally healthy diet – lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, with plenty of lean protein – is a good step along the way to a healthy lifestyle.
There are plenty of places down Newland Avenue to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, not to mention Lidl just down the end of Cottingham Road so it’s not like eating well has to be expensive. Plus all of the meals on campus are designed to be healthy as well as filling – remember if you get a main meal in The Pantry you can top it up with as many vegetables (not just chips!) as you like – so that can be a good way of getting lots of lovely vegetables in you.
So there are a few handy tips to hopefully tide you over the winter period – Hull can seem pretty grim in the gloomier months, and the last thing we want is for you all to be miserable. That leaves us with only one thing left to say, in total Jerry Springer style – look after yourselves, and each other.