Take steps to take care of yourself during the challenging winter months

Camryn Gardner, Staff Writer

For some, the colder weather and shorter days may not be such a daunting thought. After all, the holiday season is approaching and there can be a lot of comfort in that. But for others, the inevitable arrival of winter can be very dispiriting, to put it lightly, and can lead to seasonal affective disorder for some individuals. For that reason, I have tried to come up with a short list of things you can do to try to keep your spirits up this winter.
Bundling up and taking a walk may not seem like the best way to spend a half hour on a winter day, but if the weather permits it, the effects can be great for mental and physical health. With these shorter days, absorbing the sunshine when you can is a great tool for producing vitamin D, an essential vitamin for regulating the immune system.
Exercise is a great way to improve mental health in the winter. It releases feel-good endorphins in the brain that make us feel happier and calmer. Following along to a workout curated for being done at home is a good way to do this if you don’t want to face the cold.
A personal favorite exercise form of mine is practicing yoga. My go-to resource for this is Yoga with Adriene’s channel on YouTube. There is a vast selection of videos, leaving it up to you to decide if you would like to do something more physically active or something more relaxing, like a meditation or a calming anti-stress yoga flow. If you are looking to fill a credit next semester, Madison College also offers 1 credit yoga classes. A perfect way to fit some relaxation and exercise into your schedule!
Another way to take care in the winter is by setting aside time to do things that you enjoy. This can be especially difficult for students who have full schedules. As we make time for homework, classes, work, maybe even parenting or keeping a clean living space, all the while doing everything we can to try to stay healthy, it might seem ridiculous to even think of spending 30 minutes here or there doing something strictly for ourselves.
So, I say this in an attempt to not sound tone-deaf, but indulging in some self-care can often be helpful for accomplishing all of these other tasks on our to-do lists. This could be reading a novel, playing a video game, doing some skin care, creating art, journaling or really whatever makes you happy.
If the winter blues, or even the stress from school or everyday life become too much, Madison College offers counseling for those who want or need it. Therapy is awesome. You can set up a counseling session at https://students.madisoncollege.edu/counseling.
In times where I am busy with work and school, I try to remind myself that even doing a little bit, in any of these areas, is better than doing nothing at all. Take care this winter, and always.