Winter can be an especially stressful time. With the cold weather and the lack of sunlight, things can feel all the more intense. It’s important to take the time to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and emotionally) during these months. Self-care is essential to being your best version of a student, an employee, and a friend.
Way #1: Get Enough Sleep at Night
Don’t let your sleep schedule fall to the wayside. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule - most people need 7-8 hours a night. Without proper REM sleep, our bodies and minds do not get the chance to properly rest and recover from the day. This can lead to mental and physical atrophy. There are many apps that you can download on your mobile device that can be used to track your nightly hours of sleep. The Dartmouth Wellness Center also offers a course called Refresh, which is a Sleep Quality Improvement Program.
Making sleep a priority in your life will naturally make your day to day activities easier and more enjoyable. Do your best to avoid all-nighters and the extreme late-night partying. They catch up to you quicker then you might think.
Way #2: Get an Adequate Amount of Sunlight
Because of the cold, many students choose to stay inside and study in the warmth of the library or their dorm rooms. While this choice is understandable, staying inside at all times can lead to negative mood swings and even possibly seasonal affective disorder.
There are a number of ways to counteract these feelings from opening up your window blinds during the day time to renting out sun lamps from the Wellness and Counseling Centers on campus. If you have no pre-existing health conditions, it may also be beneficial for you to layer up with some warm clothes and have a brisk jog once in a while.
Way #3: Prioritize Working Out
Now more than ever is the time to sign up for that exercise class or to agree to go on that run with your friend. Exercising both releases stress-relieving endorphins and promotes blood circulation which is especially beneficial during these colder months. It may also be helpful to look into yoga & Pilates, which are dorm/apartment room friendly. Aim to get between 30-60 minutes of exercise at least 3 days a week.
Skiing, snowboarding, and ice-hockey are also really popular sports that are played by Dartmouth students. College students can get a season pass to the Dartmouth Skiway for only $99. See here for more info.
Way #4: Prevent Sickness
- Be proactive when it comes to being healthy. This can be done in a variety of ways such as:
- Washing your hands often
- Disinfecting your cell phone regularly. The surface of your cell phone is one of the dirtiest that you own
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. This is one of the main ways that germs are spread
- Eat foods with proper vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system
- Ease Your Symptoms if You Do Get Sick
- Most winter illnesses simply need to run their course. Support your own healing process by staying hydrated, drinking warm soups/teas, taking a decongestant if necessary, and allowing yourself to rest/recover. If you are contagious, do your best to stay away from crowds so that you do not spread any infections.
- If you suspect that you may have the flu (chills, body aches, extreme fever, etc.), be sure to go to the doctor as you may need a prescription and/or further medical attention.
- Carolyn De Lorenzo, 11 Winter Self-Care Strategies to Get You Through the Colder Months
- Ruth Soukup, Five Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Winter
- Proper Collective, Self-Care During College: How To Take Care of Yourself
- Krysten Gross, How to Take Care of Yourself in College