Wow, it’s dark and cold here in Wisconsin! I don’t even want to leave my room, let alone my dorm. Going to meals and events feels like a chore, I feel like I never see my friends, and walking to class is a torture. How can I keep from getting really sad and lonely this term?
Dear Icy Isolate,
Yeah, winters here are tough. It’s really hard to concentrate on classes and getting your work done when everything is so dreary. Firstly, you need good winter gear. You can order stuff online or take the shopping shuttle to the mall, but however you choose to do it, please do. If you don’t have a proper winter coat, scarf, gloves and hat, then you’ll be really miserable. It is hard to be cheerful when you are on the verge of frostbite.
Appropriate weather protection in itself won’t make winter totally bearable, but it will help with getting from place to place without your eyelids freezing together.
You’re going to have to make peace with being cold. Winter is cold and you’re going to have to accept that. You will get used to it; it will be harder if you fight it. Now, once that’s taken care of, it’s time to look to your other needs.
A problem that you may encounter in the winter is that you don’t get enough sunlight because the day isn’t very long. Many people suffer from some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can tank your mood if it’s dark all the time. We do have bright days during the winter, but most of the light is during class and studying hours, not to mention outside, where it’s freezing.
So, short of just spending all the available daylight hours standing out in the cold, you should spend some time with a daylight lamp. You can buy them on Amazon.com, or if you don’t want to shell out the money for one of your own, you can visit the Health Center where they have one in the Mind Spa, as well as a massage chair!
Seeing your friends regularly is crucial to getting through Winter Term, but this can be a hard to manage, especially if you live in different dorms. I don’t really have any tips and tricks for this; just do it. Even if it’s cold and you don’t want to go outside, it’s really important for you to make the effort to hang out with them. When it gets really dark and dreary outside, human companionship becomes like 10 times more necessary! Movies, games, talks, music—whatever you and your friends love doing together, it’s important that you spend time with one another. It can be especially fun to cook together in the winter! Even if it’s just something simple, it’s time spent together and then a hot meal, both of which are important during the winter.
Lastly, make sure you still do your homework. I know that you can get the urge in the winter to just lie in your bed all day and do nothing, but it’s important that you still get your work done. It’s important not just because you are at school, but because it will help keep your mind occupied so you don’t get really sad and lonely. Read books, write papers, engage with class materials and enjoy it! It’s not that bad. Either way, get through this and soon it will be Spring Term which is awesome and a lot of fun!