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Health and Wellbeing

How to cope with your 'winter blues'

By Konrad 22 Dec 2022

This first term at university might have been amazing for some, and not so great for others...

And that's ok.

If you're thinking that you haven't had a great experience so far or that you're feeling the pressure a bit more recently, try not to worry about it too much. Yes, university can be amazing and lots of fun but you might feel down from time to time. There are so many people in the same boat so it's important to remember you are not alone.

The dark and cold nights can definitely affect your mood. It may be that you're suffering from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which affects your mental health most when the seasons change. It doesn't help that we experience winter quite hard in this country too! If it's your first time living in the UK, this may come as a shock too. The most common symptoms of SAD are a decreased mood, having less energy and spend a lot more time in bed but there are ways to practically improve your mood and wellbeing. 

a man warming up his hands wearing a coat

Another reason could be having to balance your finances, studies, relationships, lifestyle, health and wellbeing and it's becoming a bit too much. We get it! This can even lead to students dropping out because they feel overwhelmed. Dropping out doesn't always have to be the case though. By speaking to someone about how you're feeling, it could ease your low feelings and make you feel much more positive. Bring it up to your mates and see if they're feeling the same or share this with your family over the Christmas holidays and see what they advise. 

For support with all things student, check out Student Minds transition guide to help you navigate through your university life.

a man speaking to a woman

One thing to remember is that thousands of students are affected by mental illness every single day so you are not alone.

If you're feeling down or notice that your friend hasn't been themselves, going for a walk or just having a conversation about it on your way to your 9am lecture could help. Doing some exercise, spending quality time with your friends, and sticking to a healthy diet are all ways to positively improve how you're feeling. If this doesn't help, check out Student Minds Look After Your Mate information or you should speak to someone about your thoughts and feelings. 

a person using gym equipment

Who can you talk to?
Like we mentioned, you could use the Christmas break to speak to your family and friends about how you're feeling - and be honest! Mention how you feel your first term has gone or what you have/haven't enjoyed. If you'd prefer to speak to someone at university, Student Support can help as can your Accommodation Staff. If your worries are study-related, mention it to your tutors before leaving for Christmas.

The important thing is staying as positive as you can and talking about how you're feeling.