Beating the winter blues

by Olive Redd, '25

The leaves have departed the trees, leaving barren, cold branches, but believe it or not there are ways to enjoy what many consider to be the most difficult season. Winter has long since arrived in New England, bringing with it snow, cold, and for some, the challenge of keeping up with day-to-day life. A great way to combat the winter blues is to find new things to do to avoid what can feel like the longest, most repetitive season. 

As it gets colder many people see a decline in mental and physical health, partly due to being cooped up inside, thus receiving little Vitamin D, which amplifies serotonin in the nervous system. Not receiving sufficient Vitamin D leaves people feeling tired, unproductive, and in a rut of sorts, feelings many find return with each winter. 

Stopping the cycle of yearly sadness and unproductivity can be combated right at home. If you're a person who finds it difficult to get things done in the winter, there are some steps you take. One easy way to break winter blues is to resist taking midday naps. While it may feel like a nice way to allow yourself some rest, it actually creates bad sleep schedules and the body becomes used to receiving rest at that time of day, making you tired on days when you cannot afford time for a nap. Instead try falling asleep earlier and rebalancing your sleep schedule. After a few days of resisting nap time, your body will adjust to give you ample energy to sustain a full day. Another fun thing that you can incorporate into the winter time is finding new at home hobbies. Spending so much time at home means there is  time to find something new to do, such as crocheting, learning new games, painting, and a wide range of other fun and simple new hobbies. 

Change in environment is a fabulous way to shake up a routine, even if it's just going to a library to do homework. In Somerville, there are three public library branches. Also, Somerville residents have access to the Tisch Library at Tufts on Professors Row; even though you can’t take books out, it is a good place to do research or get work done. Many students see a decline in  productivity which negatively affects their grades in the winter months, so going to get those upcoming assignments finished in a fresh space really helps. Free spaces like libraries, which are ample in the area, or even local cafes and bookstores with seating, are a great resource for this time of year. 

Due to the essential need for Vitamin D, one of the best ways to combat seasonal blues is in getting outside. While it may be cold out, bundling up and going for a walk while the sun is out is a great way to boost endorphins. It is also a great form of exercise, and a very easy thing to implement into everyday life. Try walking home from school on a day that is sunny, or take advantage of a warmer day to go outside with friends. Even when the climate does not permit much outdoor activity, take advantage of the splendor of snow by embarking on snowy day activities. Finding sledding areas and going with friends or family is easy and nostalgic and will aid in breaking routine and adding in new kinds of activity. 

Winter can be a challenging time for many, but by taking advantage of what you can do, you may find a boost in productivity and overall happiness. Give it a try. Plus the days are only getting longer and the sun is setting later and later, so spring (March 21st) is right around the corner.