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The Dark Approach of Winter: Tips on How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

Helena Mullin provides some advice for the darker days

As the days get darker and the nights get longer, seasonal affective disorder prevails.

Fluctuations in your mood and energy as the darker months loom could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder. With symptoms such as low energy, loss of appetite, oversleeping and depressive episodes, SAD affects up to three in 100 people in the UK. So don’t worry, it’s fairly common. You are not alone.

This time of year can be hard for anyone, let alone students with heavy workloads. Whether you live in student accommodation or in a house, being cooped up in your room can be tough, especially when you’re drowning in online lectures all day. However, it is important to prioritise your mental health in these winter months.

Here are some tips on how to ease these winter blues:

  • Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Spend the cold nights inside having cozy film nights with your friends, or binge watch your favourite Netflix shows.

  • Make the most of Winter! Regardless of the cold temperatures, wrapping up warm and getting outside will help with your mental outlook. Taking a walk through Hyde Park or around the city will not only let you soak up some vitamin D, but it can also count as your daily exercise.

  • Prep your mind for the upcoming months: keep up with your hobbies and enjoy other mood boosting activities. It is important to steer clear of stress and prioritize social activities, even when the temptation to avoid the bleak weather arises.

  • For more severe cases, some find that SAD lamps are an effective method of treatment. They act as a light therapy in which natural light is replicated to reduce troubling symptoms and improve low mood. The lamp should be used daily, however the amount of times per day should be carefully considered with the help of a GP.

If your mental health is at a severe low, self-care might not be enough. SAD is a valid disorder and it can be difficult to overcome. Whether it’s your friends, family or your local GP, it is essential to reach out to people you trust.

Mental health services:


Words by Helena Mullin

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