Everyone knows the feeling of bliss on a warm summer day when you can close your eyes, tilt your head to the sky and feel the vitamin D absorb into your skin. However, the world is not an endless summer – certainly not in Villanova, Pennsylvania. When the weather gets gray and cold it is easy to let yourself sink into a sad, emotional hibernation. That is why it is so important to keep track of yourself and how you are feeling, especially during these shorter days and colder nights. Whether it is the winter blues or seasonal depression, it is time to know the signs and how to cope with your feelings.

If you find yourself feeling less energetic, gaining weight, or being less social, it might be time to focus on your mental health. Without the exposure to powerful sunlight you each day, it can be difficult to keep a high morale, especially with the stress of school and a busy social life. These types of emotions are particularly found more often in women and young adults, so this type of struggle is not uncommon on a college campus. That fact begs the question:

 If the winter is preventing me from being completely comfortable with my mental health, then what are some things I can do to help myself? 

To that end, there are multiple facets you could explore. One of the most helpful things to do is to try to get as much sunlight as possible. Take a walk, do an outside activity, or simply sit by a window while doing your work. All these tasks are ways of making sure you are not only under artificial lighting and expose you to the benefits of the sun. Also, having a regular schedule with good sleeping and eating habits is important for keeping yourself strong through the winter. 

Of course, sometimes you need more than just these tactics. While it is common to have the winter blues, seasonal depression can be debilitating to those who suffer from it. Therefore, it is important that you reach out to someone if what you are going through is routed deeper than winter troubles. The Villanova Student Counseling Office is a wonderful place right on campus that is always available. They are located in the Counseling Center, Room 206 in the Health Services Building. They can also be reached by phone: 610-519-4050.

Winter has its perks, but for some it can be a very difficult time. Especially with mental health becoming less and less stigmatized, the time is now to be cognizant of your own emotions and those of your loved ones. Never before has the dialogue around mental health been so open, which makes the continuation of our conversation and understanding surrounding the issue all the more essential.

All information was derived from the Villanova Counseling Center Website.