Story by Jordan Hyde
“Winter storm watch in effect throughout the night, with the potential of five inches or more of snow.”This infamous forecast has the majority of us cringing by this time of the year.
Coming up to almost our fourth month of winter can be disheartening.
Some may even be experiencing cabin fever, also known as winter blues or snow rage.
This can lead to feeling unhappy, irritated and unmotivated.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this unpleasant feeling.
Although cabin fever is not a psychiatric diagnosis, it does exist and it can be quite common.
Michelle Gielan, an expert in positive health and wellness and founder of the “Institute for Applied Positive Research” and the PBS program “The Happiness Advantage,” has outlined a few key things you can do to boost your mood during these cold winter days.
First, get outside and get exercise.
Gielan says this is just as important during the winter as it is in the summer.
Just five minutes of walking can boost one’s mood.
Also, soaking up natural sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, something we all may be a little short of from being cooped up inside.
Second, find a new hobby you can enjoy indoors.
While being a college student may leave little time for hobbies, it may be important to make time for pleasure to sustain your mental health.
An idea for this could be reading a new book or trying a new recipe your roommates will love.
Third, re-energize your social relationships.
It becomes so easy for us to cancel plans with our friends because of the cold weather.
Unintentionally, we begin to isolate ourselves. Gielan says to bundle up and follow through with your weekend plans with friends.
“I try to surround myself with positive people,” said first-year pharmacy student Sara Magill.
Magill also said that to avoid feeling “trapped” this winter she plans outings to get her moving and to get fresh air.
“When I feel distracted by this weather or just generally down, I remind myself of the sunlight and warmth that will soon come,” said Morgan Daniels, a senior theatre major.
Daniels said eating healthy gives her more energy as well.
As appealing as it sounds to curl up in bed with junk food and Netflix, experts say this will not benefit mental health during these last months of winter.
What would be more beneficial for beating cabin fever would be to open your bedroom blinds, take a walk outside.
Follow through with your plans this weekend.
Not only will your friends appreciate you spending time with them, but, more importantly, you will feel better about yourself.