10 Tips For Dealing With Those 'Winter Quarter Blues'

10 Tips For Dealing With Those 'Winter Quarter Blues'

Everyone has to deal with the winter blues this time of year, but when you're in college in the PNW, it can be much harder to deal with, this is a list of tips to help conquer it.

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The Winter Blues. Because of the shorter days, less sunlight, and the end of the holidays, it can be really hard to get yourself out of bed in the morning, let alone go to your classes. Here are some tips for dealing with this blue time of year, to get you through your winter quarter.

Exercise.

I know. I'm tired of hearing it too. But its true. Exercise is good for you and for so much more than losing weight. It can promote better sleep, give you more energy, and just give you a much needed boost of self confidence as well. Even a brisk walk can help you start reaping the benefits.

Consider Investing in a Blue Light.

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While not the cheapest option, investing in one of these Blue Light lamp's can be beneficial. I use one myself during the darker winter months. The blue light mimics UV rays, and can be helpful in fighting off the winter blues and giving your body that extra dose of energy. You can read more about picking one here

Limit Alcohol Consumption.

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This makes me sound like such a buzzkill, I know. But alcohol is a depressant, and the last thing you need during the darker winter months is a hangover and the Booze Blues. I know that its college and its fun to get lit with your friends, but be careful with your drinks and use your best judgment. Drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink if you can. You'll thank me when you aren't missing class due to a hangover.

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule.

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Sleep is how your body heals itself and restores function. Denying yourself some good, regular sleep is asking for trouble. The less sleep you have, the more likely you are to be depressed, or exhibit risk-taking behavior. So turn off your phone, curl up, and get some good ZZZs.

Vitamin D.

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Take some supplements. Part of the reason we're tired and sad during Winter Quarter is that the sun is gone and we're not receiving any of the health benefits its radiant rays bring us. Pick some Vitamin D up from your local store and supplement your body until the sun decides to show its face again

Take a Mental Health Day.

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With everything going on, sometimes it can seem impossible to find a moment to rest. Sometimes you just need a day to stay at home and breathe and so you can't deny yourself the occasional mental health day. Everything in moderation. Don't skip all of your classes for a week, it'll make things worse in the long run, but giving yourself a three day weekend once a month can be beneficial.

Fresh air.

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As cold as it is, go outside, take a breath. It'll give you a moment to organize your brain and slow you to get some fresh air instead of continuing to breathe in all the dust you've been breathing in inside. If you go for a short walk, you can hit two birds with one stone!

See your friends!

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It can be easy to isolate when you're dealing with seasonal depression and still trying to pass your classes. Again, all in moderation. See your friends, isolating yourself is just going to make you feel worse in the long run and it won't help you at all.

Take A Moment.

Take a moment for some mindfulness. With classes, homework, friends, relationships, etc swimming around in your brain, it can be hard to keep things straight, so its worthwhile to take a moment and focus on one thing. Your brain will thank you for it.

SAD? See a Doctor.

Do you think you're exhibiting severe signs of seasonal depression? Sadder than just the Winter Quarter Blues? It would be worthwhile to talk to your Doctor about SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD. Sometimes, its a bigger problem than going for a jog or getting some extra time in the sun can fix.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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