Winter Quarter is rough. The gloomy skies, the endless piles of slowly melting snow and the chilling temperatures are enough to bring anyone down. With these conditions and the added stress of academics, it can be hard to find positivity and light in life. That said, there are a lot of things you can do to spare yourself the seasonal depression that may come with winter at Northwestern. Without further ado, I present to you some guiding tips to stay happy in the winter!
Stock up on Vitamin D pills!
Our bodies naturally use the sun’s rays to make vitamin D. However, with the sun hardly being out, and us hardly feeling it when it is, we tend to lack this essential nutrient. The solution? Over-the-counter vitamin D supplements. Low levels of vitamin D lead to symptoms like pain, exhaustion and even depression, so this is a simple and efficient way to avoid the winter blues. The supplements can be found at any local pharmacy, so stop by the CVS or Target on Sherman Ave. and help your mind and body get through the quarter.
Attend Happiness Club meetings
Northwestern’s Happiness Club is dedicated to uplifting students’ moods by encouraging kindness, friendship and community service in a number of ways (including therapy dogs!). Any time the cold weather hits you especially hard, the Happiness Club is ready to comfort you with open arms. Every Thursday, they have different events ranging from s’mores to movie nights. Junior Exec Board member Brigid Devine said there is a lot to look forward to at each meeting, especially this coming one. “Happiness Club is all about making the environment at NU feel happier just by having random events, and we have a surprise coming this weekend!” Devine said.
Sit in front of the SPAC white light
Yet another replacement for the sun, Northwestern’s Henry Crown Sports Pavilion Wellness Suite has LED lights that radiate happiness. Using bright white light, the lamps boost energy and improve mood when you sit in front of them. “We have a handout we give all new clients about what it does, what to expect and when to use caution,” Associate Director of Fitness and Wellness Nancy Tierney said. “We recommend that people start off with 15 minutes, and we have some comfy chairs where people can just come and sit. The white light enters through your eyes so you just need to be facing it, so you can work on your laptop or read a book.” Anyone can simply plop down in front of the light with their homework and let the light therapy cure their sullen moods.
Get coffee with friends <3
Probably the best way to lighten your mood is to surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up. In the dark, cold winter, nothing beats a nice warm coffee date with your best friends, curing both your sadness and shivers. With their wide array of choices in drinks and snacks, Colectivo is always a comfortable place to settle in with some good friends. Another fun (and filling) activity is going to Evanston Games & Cafe, a coffee shop that hosts numerous game events ranging from board games nights to Dungeons & Dragons competitions. As cheesy as it may sound, this may truly be the best way to ensure your happiness and have people check in on you to make sure you’re doing well.
Of course, none of these are substitutes for serious mental health help. If you ever feel like you need more guidance to help through what can be a really challenging time, CAPS is always available. Hopefully this was a helpful, comprehensive list! Remember to work hard, play hard, and most importantly: stay happy!