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7 tips on how to beat the winter blues as a student

Date:16 January 2023
Are you feeling like this? :(
Are you feeling like this? :(

Today’s Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year. While Blue Monday is a myth, it’s not surprising if you experience the winter blues (or even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)) now that the festivities are over and the days are long, rainy and dark. In light of this, here are 7 tips on how to overcome feeling the winter blues as a student!

#1 Take care of yourself

The most important thing to do when you’re feeling the winter blues is to take care of yourself. Let yourself feel all the feels whether that’s tiredness, sadness, frustration etc. Maybe write down some of your thoughts just to get them out of your head, and be easy on yourself. If studying doesn’t seem to work, take a little break and come back to it later or order takeaway if you don’t have the energy to cook. All in all, make sure that you listen to yourself and your body!

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Sleeping well really benefits your mental health!

#2 Stick to a (sleep) schedule 

Especially when you’re feeling low, unmotivated and just overall ‘blah’, sticking to a schedule can really help according to our student psychologists! With, for example, a regular sleep schedule - where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time on weekdays and on the weekends - you get the best amount of sleep (at least 7 hours) and your body will feel motivated and rested when waking up. Personally, I like to go to sleep around 10PM and wake up at 7 or 8AM, because I really need the sleep and this will help me feel rested in the morning. Also, creating a regular day schedule is a good idea. Plan when you want to study, eat lunch, move your body and do fun activities etc. This will help you get through the day (and week) more easily and hopefully you’ll get some stuff done!

#3 Study buddies

Another way to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do for university (especially now that exam season has officially started), is to schedule study dates with your friends. This way you can hold each other accountable and you get to have some fun! But make sure it doesn’t get too fun so you won’t be studying at all ;). I like to meet my friends at the Harmony Building where we lunch together and get to work. It’s really nice to have someone to talk to or to help you when you’re struggling with something.

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Do some yoga just like this cat ;3.

#4 Move your body

Try to move your body at least once a day whether that is by going on a walk, doing some yoga, running, working out or something else. This will definitely help you to feel a little bit better because your body releases endorphins and serotonin when exercising which improve your mood and help reduce feelings of loneliness and sadness. While I certainly don’t always have the motivation to go to the gym, after I’ve dragged myself there and have worked out I feel sooo much better! I dare you to try it out :).

#5 Consider light therapy

If you don’t get enough daylight throughout the day because you cannot motivate yourself to go outside or you have to be inside a lot because of work or other things using a full-spectrum light box to get vitamin D might be a good option for you. This is especially helpful for people who struggle with SAD. The light box helps with balancing your circadian rhythm and with raising serotonin levels which make you feel happier. You can buy the light yourself but you can also go to your GP to talk about options for professional light therapy.

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Have a tea party!

#6 Plan fun activities

What also helps me get through the day and lighten my mood is having something to look forward to such as having dinner with friends or going to the city centre to wander around the shops. When I know I have something to go to in the afternoon, I have more motivation to get my stuff done so I can fully relax later and enjoy that activity. Even a little thing such as going to your favourite café to treat yourself to a coffee and pastry can help you feel less ‘meh’.

#7 Don’t hesitate to get help

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get professional help if you’re struggling and really don’t know what to do. The SSC has lots to offer regarding psychological/mental support such as study support groups if you find it hard to motivate yourself doing uni work. You can also talk to a psychologist there (up to five times after the intake). Moreover, they can help you to get you a referral to, for example, a psychologist or psychiatrist for a longer period of time. Remember: you don’t have to struggle alone!

Hopefully, by implementing these tips you will feel a little bit better! Do you know someone who is struggling as well? Send them this blog to help them feel their happy self again soon! It’s important to check in with each other. 

Do you have other useful tips that would really help? Let us know in the comments!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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