Arthur News School of Fish
Trent University's Symons Campus shown here on a winter day. Photo credit: Rishabh Joshi

Managing Your Mental Health this Winter Season

Written by
Tru Van Wyck
and
and
December 5, 2022

Disclaimer: I am not a professional. These tips are based on my experience and research and should be used as a brief guide. However, if you are struggling with your mental health or you are having trouble coping with a mental illness, please seek professional help.

Managing Your Mental Health this Winter Season
Trent University's Symons Campus shown here on a winter day. Photo credit: Rishabh Joshi

Mental health is an ever-growing challenge for students. As the days get shorter and we approach the winter, seasonal depression becomes a very serious concern. It takes a lot of effort and self-control to balance mental health with school responsibilities. This is not easy; practicing self-care and accessing support is key for a successful winter semester. 

I want to preface this article by stating that this advice is for everyone! Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around mental health and many self-care tips are tailored for women. Seasonal depression affects everyone and anyone can struggle with mental health issues.

Socializing is very important for maintaining good mental health. During the colder season it’s easy to feel isolated. Plans are harder to make as we are less inclined to venture outside in the cold but once we make it out to see friends or go for a walk, we are grateful we did. This winter, you can centre your social interactions around staying warm. Go out for hot chocolate or have a cozy movie date. On days when the sun is out, utilize the season to go ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing. Activities we only get when it’s snowy and cold. 

When it’s dark out, we are more likely to feel tired and run down. One solution is to purchase a sunlight that admits artificially light that tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. These can be purchased on Amazon for about $25. A more affordable option is to make sure you are getting up earlier in the day. We need vitamin D to regulate our immune system which we get from sun exposure. As well, it boosts our mood! When getting up feels like an impossibility, listen to your favourite playlist, watch your favourite show, have a shower, and call/see a friend or trusted family member. 

Self-care is also very important to maintaining mental health. How we take care of ourselves is a direct reflection of how we are feeling. Simple everyday things like showering, brushing our teeth, and washing our face are important for maintaining basic hygiene but also make us feel better. I also encourage pampering yourself once a week. Face masks, taking a long shower or bath, and exfoliating. Patrick Bateman in American Psycho did it best if you’re looking for a visual demonstration.

This winter season is also accompanied by exams. Right when our motivation or mental health suffers due to the colder weather we are in the busiest time of the semester. When seasonal depression hits, simple tasks can seem difficult, let alone school work. To help prevent falling behind and feeling worse about ourselves, set small goals. Work for five minutes, check off one thing on your to-do list, and approach tasks one at a time. You can make these activities more enjoyable by adding incentives. After completing an assignment reward yourself with your favourite drink, snack, dessert, or movie. Not taking breaks and failing to reward oneself can fuel our low mood. 

Make sure to have a trusted healthcare professional to monitor and keep up with ever changing mental health challenges. Whether that be a family doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. As a Trent student, you have access to counselling services. Please take advantage of them. The Student Wellness Center is a great resource and you can request a counsellor. This service is covered by your tuition. 

This exam season as the days have become shorter and the weather colder prioritize your mental health. Focus on balancing self care with school productivity. This exam season, reach out to counselling services when needed and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
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