With winter on its way, many of us are anxious about how shorter days coupled with pandemic isolation will affect our mental health. It’s not uncommon for the winter season to bring along with it Seasonal Affective Disorder; SAD mimics the symptoms of depression – fatigue, disinterest in once-loved activities, and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. Now, more than ever, our bodies and minds crave stimulation and tranquility.

Here are some ideas to help you dodge the winter/Covid-19 blues this winter:

  • Take a Hike — hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Even in winter, most hiking trails are clear enough to walk through, provided you have warm and waterproof footwear. It’s best to hike with a buddy (don’t forget your masks!) and make sure your cell phones are charged, in case of emergency. Check out this website for some great hiking trails near Whitewater.
  • Get Some Sunlight — as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, getting your daily dose of vitamin D can be tricky. Light therapy boxes mimic natural, outdoor light and are thought to stimulate brain chemicals that are linked to moods and sleep.
  • Meditate — meditation is a great way to connect the body and mind and to relieve stress. What’s better, meditation can be done by everyone! Headspace offers a student discount for their app full of guided meditations.
  • Yoga — yoga is an excellent form of exercise that can help reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation, and can improve strength and flexibility. Yoga is easily modifiable and can get you moving, wherever you are. Yoga with Adriene is a free source for tons of yoga videos, with all different focuses.
  • Read a Book — for some, the thought of reading in your free time during the semester may be a nightmare. For others, this can be the perfect way to press pause on your life and dive into something more whimsical. You can share your favorite stories with your friends by starting a book exchange or a book club with virtual meetings.
  • Find a Hobby — puzzles, learning crochet, macramé, or hand lettering, a new language… the options are endless! Finding something you really enjoy might take some time, but can be rewarding in the long run!

Whatever you choose to do this winter, remember that your physical health is just as important as your mental health. With an additional wave of Covid-19 likely on its way, please remember to wash your hands, wear a mask, and social distance whenever possible to keep yourself and those you love safe.

– Lisa G. | Dietetics Intern