It can be extra difficult when you see your peers excited about winter if you struggle with your mental health due to the change of seasons. In fact, seasonal depression is not uncommon. It tends to happen during the fall and winter when there are many hours of darkness, the most severe months being January and February. This serious condition can make it challenging to carry out even routine tasks.
Symptoms of seasonal depression are wide ranging and can be anywhere from mild to severe. Typically, they include fatigue, weight gain, loss of energy, and agitation. Some of these symptoms are due to sleeping too much and craving carbohydrates, which often accompany seasonal depression.
Unfortunately, seasonal depression can be especially hard on university students. You’re away from your family, who likely provided you with support in the past. You may struggle to get up in the morning, which can spiral into skipping classes and neglecting your studies. As a result, you may spend even less time outdoors in the sun, which reduces your vitamin D intake and causes symptoms to worsen.
Nonetheless, with the right strategy, you can fight seasonal depression. You’ll be able to continue living your life and enjoying the things that usually give you pleasure. Here are some tips to consider.
1. Stick to a Routine
One reason why it may be more difficult to manage seasonal depression at university than it was at high school is the lack of structure. You may have classes at different times of the day and various other activities throughout the week. By creating a routine for yourself, you can bring structure back to your life. It can help to write your schedule into your calendar, as this will mean you always know what you should be doing.
2. Have a Set Bedtime and Wake-Up Time
One important aspect of your routine needs to be sleep. By setting both a bedtime and a wake-up time, you’ll ensure you sleep the same number of hours each night. This is crucial because a lack of sleep can make your symptoms worse and have an effect on your academic performance. Trying to catch up on sleep later is never a good idea. However, it’s particularly problematic if you’re suffering from seasonal depression, as oversleeping can worsen your symptoms just as much as too little sleep.
3. Stay Active
Make sure you exercise on a regular basis, such as by adding a morning run to your routine, finding a buddy to do workouts with, or looking for opportunities on campus, such as fitness classes or an elective that will get you moving.
4. Keep Socializing
Seasonal depression can make you want to spend all of your time on your own. Commit to at least a couple social events each week, whether they involve hanging out with friends or attending meetings for a club. You may not always want to go out, but you should find you feel better when you do.
If you’re suffering from seasonal depression, the most important thing to do is receive support for your mental health. Find out if your university offers any free or discounted counseling services.
You’ll also find it helps to have your own space but also to be near other students — as this will encourage you to keep socializing. You can gain both by moving into student rentals. Kingston has Foundry Princess. You’ll be able to relax in your private bedroom when you need time alone, but you’ll also have roommates who you can spend time with and you can meet more people in our community clubhouse. There’s also an onsite fitness centre to keep you physically healthy. Book a tour to see how living at Foundry Princess could improve your university experience.