Ask any of my closest friends to describe me using one word and they’d all probably say “cool.” However, I’m not always cool. Sometimes I’m even sad. Why am I sad? Because I have S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern; usually beginning in the late fall and ending in early spring. S.A.D. isn’t it? With that being said, here are my cool tips on how to stay cool this winter.

1. NEVER Forget to Take Your Medication

Forgetting to take your medication is the worst thing you can do. Do you want to have a bad time? Forget to take your pills. Do you want to have a good time? Remember to take your pills. Another pro-tip, from the seasoned pro, is to put an extra pill in your car or backpack. If you underestimate how long you’ll be out, having an extra pill on hand can help ensure you won’t be pulling a Cinderella.

2. Try New Things

While medication can substantially help you, it isn’t perfect. However, there are ways that you can further minimize the impact of your mental illness outside of your medication. For example, exercising and eating healthy are excellent ways to feel good. Even performing mundane tasks as simple as cleaning your room or planning out your week can help you feel like you have your life together. In short, do what works for you and be open to trying new things.

3. Talk About It

While there may be some stigma surrounding mental health, it’s important to talk about it anyway. One benefit to telling people you know about your mental health is that in case you have an episode in front of them, they’ll know that it’s your S.A.D. and not them. There are a number of ways that you can talk about your mental health including: posting about it online, texting your friends, speaking at mental health events, writing an article for your mediocre-at-best school newspaper, and more!

4. Break the Cycle

With university, work, clubs, and sports, it’s easy to get caught in a loop of constance and monotony. That’s a fancy way of saying that after a while, each day starts to look the same. For you, it could mean getting creative and painting a picture (minus the color green), or even spending time with friends – anything to break the cycle.

5. Know Your Limits and Don’t Push Yourself

S.A.D.ly, very little can be done on bad mental health days. The best you can do is wait it out until the next day or so when you’re back to feeling normal. It’s the equivalent of spraining your ankle and having to sit out the rest of the race. Sure, you could try to hop to the finish line with your sprained ankle, but what will you accomplish? You’ll only make yourself look and feel worse.

Whether you have S.A.D. or any other mental health problem, it’s important to look after it and get yourself treated so that you can be an even better version of yourself.