Winter wellbeing

Issue date: 07 December 2017


Winter Wellbeing

The winter can be a fun, festive time with many students looking forward to the upcoming Christmas vacation. However, for some people, the shorter days and prospect of returning home or not having support over the Christmas period can make this a difficult time of year. We've compiled some tips to help you beat the winter blues.

Weather woes

Lots of people find the shorter days, darker mornings and evenings and cold weather can have a negative impact on their mental health.

  • Try to get as much natural sunlight as possible – even a lunchtime walk or having a break outside can really help
  • Make your study and home environments as light as possible – keep curtains open and study in areas with lots of natural light
  • Sit near windows when possible
  • Try to do some regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight
  • Feeling cold can really impact mood - keep warm with hot drinks and hot food, wear warm clothes and try to keep your room at a comfortable temperature

Handling the holidays

The change of pace and lack of structure without University can be really difficult and daily routines can slip which can have an impact on your wellbeing.

  • Try and stick to regular, healthy sleeping, eating and exercise patterns and schedule in things to do and look forward to
  • Take some well-earned relaxation time over the Christmas break but also make time for studying, volunteering or working to feel productive
  • Give time to things you enjoy to keep you occupied and interested
  • Spend time with friends, family and pets over the holidays – campus and home can be quieter out of term time and it can be strange to adjust, so plan ahead to see loved ones

Coping with Christmas

The festive season is a time of celebration but it can also be one of the most stressful periods of the year.

  • Set realistic budgets for gifts to avoid financial pressures – try making your own presents or buy pre-loved items which may be cheaper
  • There may be more opportunities to use alcohol or drugs over celebratory periods – remember to do this responsibly and safely
  • Not everyone celebrates Christmas, this may be for personal or cultural/religious reasons and can feel a little isolating – volunteering may be a good way to keep busy and give back to the community. Check out UWE Bristol Volunteers for upcoming opportunities

Over the Christmas period, some support services may close down for periods of time. Make sure you are familiar with the opening times of services you access and be aware of support with is available every day of the year such as the Samaritans.

Seeking support

If you're finding this time of year particularly difficult, remember that you can speak to staff at the University Wellbeing Service for support. Take a look at the Wellbeing Service website to find out how about the range of support available, including self-help resources.

Please be aware that the Wellbeing Service is open for some of the Christmas vacation but will be closed from 12:00 on Friday 22 December – 8:30 Wednesday 3 January.

If you need to speak to someone outside of office hours, you can contact Kooth Student – they provide free, anonymous online counselling during evenings and weekends including over the Christmas period.

You can also contact Samaritans for free, confidential 24/7 support, 365 days of the year on 116 123.

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