Let’s be honest: spring semester in State College can be pretty bleak. The temperatures are frigid and the sun is almost never in sight. Not to mention, the cold weather often overstays its welcome into the spring months.
For college students who are already dealing with the many stresses of school, seasonal depression can be a major problem. The Central Pennsylvania weather certainly doesn’t help either.
VALLEY is here to give you five helpful tips to boost your mood and dodge the spring semester blues.
Tip #1: Get Outside When You Can
Yes, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to get Vitamin D. On the few days that the sun does show its face in State College, get out there and take advantage of it!
Research shows that exposure to sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which is a hormone that improves your mood. It also triggers the brain to make more melatonin, which helps you sleep. When you don’t get enough light, your body doesn’t produce enough of these hormones, so it’s important to get as much as you can whenever you can.
Even though you may need to bundle up, going for a hike on Mount Nittany or a walk at The Arboretum is a great way to brighten your mood. These activities will not only help you release mood-improving hormones, but they’re also fun things to with your friends when you need a quick study break.
Tip #2: Try Some Summer Scents
Even though it may seem minor, scents can make all the difference in improving your mood. Get out some of your favorite summer candles or try an essential oil diffuser. Oil diffusers are a great alternative to candles since you can pick oils that are catered to exactly what you need.
Depending on what you’re looking for, there are scents that can help with almost anything. Citrus is great for energy if you feel like you’re in a slump, pine can alleviate stress and lavender can help you sleep. You can even combine oils to create your own perfect blend.
Tip #3: Exercise
It’s always important to exercise, but it’s even more important if you struggle with seasonal depression. Exercising regularly can increase dopamine levels, which will make you naturally happier throughout the day.
Having a workout routine is also a great way to get out of your dorm or apartment and get yourself going. It can be hard to get out of bed when it’s freezing and dark outside, so having a strict routine will help in general with time management throughout the week. If you have a schedule you can stick to, it is likely you will feel more organized and put together.
Tip #4: Change Up Your Diet
It’s so easy to gravitate toward comfort food during the winter months. Even though these foods may be tasty, they’re often not the best for your health. It’s okay to indulge in your favorite comfort foods every once in a while, but eating fresh and natural foods can greatly improve your mood.
Whether it’s seasonal depression, or any other mental health issue, diet is critical. If you’re not getting the right vitamins and nutrients, your brain will not be able to function properly. It’s also important to hydrate during the winter months so you can stay focused during the school day.
Pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. If you’re eating clean, there’s a much greater chance that you’ll feel better both physically and mentally. Eating healthy will also help you stay fit, so when the warm weather does come around, you’ll already have your summer body ready to go.
Tip #5: Rearrange Your Space
Of course it would be nice to get a change of scenery by going on a vacation, but it’s not so easy to do that when you have class almost every day. Try switching up your dorm room or apartment to make it a more positive space during these dark and gloomy months.
Using lighter colors to decorate can brighten up a space. Trying out different lighting is also a great way to make your room feel both inviting and energizing. If you feel like you’re really missing the summer months, try hanging up some photographs and decor that will remind you of good memories and times to look forward to once the spring semester comes to a close.