How to cope with your 'winter blues'
This first term at university might have been amazing for some, and not so great for others...
And that's ok.
2020 was such a strange and difficult year for everyone and your start to university may not have been what you expected. 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, especially after the year we've all experienced, it's important to remember you are not alone.
For some of you, you may have enjoyed spending so much time with your family or your flatmates, depending on where you spent lockdown, during 2020 but are still experiencing 'winter blues'. 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.
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.
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, organising a Zoom quiz for 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.
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.
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