Student Survival Guide: Winter Edition

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It’s time to accept it: Winter is upon us, accompanied by hot chocolate, presents, the never-ending litany of Christmas music and a shivery cold.

While there are a lot of wonderful things about winter, and especially about the Christmas holidays – I’ll be honest, the temperature drop and howling winds often leave me staying under the covers with a mug of tea, wishing I never have to leave my bed. Not to mention the seasonal depression, which can affect many people, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Unfortunately, at some point we must leave the comfort of our beds and become the totally independent and functional adults we are, so here are a few ways to get through the cold months and 4pm sunsets, especially if you’re a winter newbie.

  1. Try vitamin D tablets, they’ll help counter the lack of sunlight in the winter.
  2. Moisturize. It’s IMPORTANT!
  3. Early to bed and early to rise. This is a hard one, but it can help to adjust your sleep schedule so you’re up earlier and are awake for most of the daylight. I know I’m far more productive and happy when the sun’s up than down. Pro tip: Keeping your curtains open helps naturally wake you up earlier.
  4. There are a lot of great Christmas festivities around town that are a fun way to get out and spend time with friends and family. The Merry and Bright Holiday Lights Festival at the Botanical Gardens and the Downtown Christmas Parade are a couple examples.
  5. While it can be easy to stay inside, make some time to go outside if you can! There are many hiking and walking trails that are beautiful in the winter, and winter sports are one of the best parts of the season.
  6. With that said, if you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time outside, wear ALL the layers. It also makes a big difference when protecting extremities like your ears and hands. I like giant fluffy earmuffs, but scarves and hats work too – and mittens work better than gloves when it comes to keeping your hands warm.
  7. And even if you’re outside for just a bit, it’s good to always have an eye on the weather report – which most phones have an app for, anyway. A five minute walk to the library can feel like forever if you aren’t properly dressed for the 40km/h winds.
  8. Coming back full circle, sometimes it can be good to take some time to yourself and relax. Winter often isn’t as busy as the summer, where there’s always something to do and people to go out with, so it can be a good opportunity to reflect. It’s also a fine time to get started on anything you had been wanting to work on and spend some time on personal projects. There’s a season for everything.

Here are some of my tips for the winter, but I’m sure there are many others. What’s yours?

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