The past few days at our UBC Campus have been cold, wet and lacking in sunshine. Winter Blues (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) affect up to 12-15% of Canadians each year. It’s unfortunate that this time of the year happens to fall right at the end of the term when finals and papers are looming over our heads. The good news is that Winter Blues are completely treatable once you have made up your mind to not let it impact you negatively. Here are a few tips to help get you through to the Spring:
- Get that Vitamin D: Get it in the form of supplements or a Vitamin D lamp, whichever works for you. Another way to help our body compensate for the lack of sunshine is increasing Vitamin D rich foods in our diet. Some suggestions include salmon, mushrooms, tuna and fortified foods. Along with several health benefits, Vitamin D is known to elevate mood and decrease depressive symptoms. Check out this article in the Journal for Neuropsychiatry to find out more.
- Aromatherapy: The following scents have uplifting, antidepressant properties: citrus oil, sage, rose oil and peppermint. Aromatherapy can be practiced in many ways – some of which include setting up essential oils in diffusers or lighting scented candles in your room or apartment.. How does it work? The smell receptors in our nose send messages to the areas of our brain which control our emotions, including the hypothalamus. This results in the production of chemicals, such as serotonin and endorphin, which elevate our mood.
- Get out!: An odd suggestion considering it is the outside that is causing Winter Blues. However, getting physical activity and a change of scenery will help you escape the monotony caused by this weather.
- Talk: The oldest trick in the book. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Bottling up your emotions and thoughts will only exacerbate your poor mental health. Talk to your parents, friends, or even coworkers.
- Journaling: While this may not work for everyone, Journaling is beneficial for many people. If you are not comfortable talking about your feelings out loud just yet, write them out in your journal till you feel comfortable enough to take the conversation outside.