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Ten ways to beat the winter blues

Thursday 2 January 2014

Short days and cold weather can be hard to cope with, especially for those of us from parts of the world with a better climate.  Winter in the UK can feel like it goes on forever, but already the days are getting longer and in just a few weeks the spring flowers will start to cheer up our parks and gardens.

In the meantime here are some ideas to help you through:

  1. Eat ‘feel-good’ foods – oily fish, nuts, green vegetables, bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados. Get together with a friend and cook a big hearty curry or stew, or whatever your favourite dish is. http://tinyurl.com/myups55
  2. Get lots of rest. To help yourself unwind and de-stress, you can download these free podcasts to help improve your wellbeing and relaxation. There’s even a podcast which helps to slowly relax you for a long and restful sleep. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/podcasts/
  3. Get physical – take a walk along the canal, go dancing, go for a swim and sauna, get moving and boost your mood! Exercise isn’t just good for your fitness, but also releases feel good hormones which can help to keep you feeling positive even on grey days. http://tinyurl.com/orx4f95
  4. Feel good by doing good! You can volunteer to help others in your local community – and improve your CV as an added bonus. http://www.providevolunteering.org/home.aspx
  5. Do something different! Start a new activity or take advantage of the opportunities provided by your Student Union by joining a society – there’s something for everyone. www.qmsu.org, http://www.timeout.com/london and http://www.meetup.com/cities/gb/17/london/
  6. Take control of your stresses! Get on top of your studies by booking a one-to-one academic study skills tutorial. http://www.library.qmul.ac.uk/subject
  7. Go to the cinema – that way you can’t tell it’s dark outside! Going to see a film is the perfect way to give your mind a break from exam or deadline stress. http://www.timeout.com/london/cinema-listings
  8. A box set is a great companion for those endless winter nights. Stock up on DVDs and give yourself a great excuse to snuggle up and stay in.  
  9. Whenever it’s dry, get outside at lunchtime and get some fresh air while soaking up some Vitamin D. http://www.walkeast.org/index.html
  10. If the blues won’t go away and you’re struggling to cope then see your GP or a QM counsellor – www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk. Know when to seek help - winter depression affects many people each year (seasonal affective disorder or SAD http://www.sada.org.uk/).
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