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May 24, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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How to stay happy this winter

While we all may get a bit of the blues over winter, many of us seem to slip a bit further into depression. Seasonally Affective Disorder (SAD) is more widespread than we may otherwise think, and can be mistaken for exam stress. This disorder comes but once a year, over winter, as we get less sun and a whole lot more rain, wind, and general weather-beaten-ness. As summer comes around, the veil lifts, and we don’t worry about it… until next year.

The best thing to do over winter is to make sure you get sun when you can, directly onto your skin. Doing this will ensure your body is getting a good hit of vitamin D, which is best absorbed by the skin, and cannot be absorbed through glass—so sitting in the window won’t get you that hit. To make sure you do enjoy your time in the sun, why not exercise? Go for a run, as the exercise will do you good as well. Exercising gives you endorphins, which also help keep you happy. Hate exercising? Next time you walk up the Kelburn campus, take your jacket off and try to walk faster. Easy!

Also make sure you do get enough exercise. A good tip is to see if you can get the same amount as you did in summer. If you can’t walk the entire journey, why not buy yourself something from the dairy two stops away, and get on the bus from there? If the weather is terrible, mission to a city market on Sunday and spend the rest of the day cooking a big pot of soup in your nice snuggly kitchen. At the very least, I don’t want to see any of you spending the entire day in bed unless you have the flu. Fresh air and exercise.

Set yourself a threshold for the maximum length of time you’re willing to spend without hanging out with your friends. Try to see someone enjoy talking to, face to face, at least once a week. Just talking and enjoying company are good mood elevators. Do this for yourself, and do this for your friends. Talk about anything and everything.

Make the point to ensure your uni work is as stress-free as possible. Get a big calendar from VUWSA and write all your deadlines on it, so nothing sneaks up on you. Make the most of your lecturers’ contact hours to get clarification on those assignments, and you’ll feel much better.

And finally, mix it up a little. Try to do something different every day, even if its walking home a different way, or splurging that extra $4 and getting a giant meringue for lunch. Enjoy your opportunities and make the most of life, even cold icy winter life.

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Comments (3)

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  1. rosemary says:

    Cooking is my one true way of surviving through winter: crumbles, pies, casseroles, soups, muffins, scones, fresh bread, and (as always) chocolate-y goodness.

  2. Zoe says:

    Yummmmmmmm. My casseroles always fail so i’m jealous. Maybs this winter they wont. Maybs.

  3. Elaine says:

    Type here…Congrats – yu’re helping others – I know, have had major depression, and now work in the NGO Mental health Sector.

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