As a southern girl from Charlotte, NC, my first Northeastern winter came as a shock to me last year. I had to buy my first puffy winter coat–and scarves became a necessity, rather than a cute fashion statement.
Back home, school was cancelled if there was even a chance of snow–and if a couple of flakes did fall, they usually melted before the first snowballs were thrown. It rarely gets colder than 30 degrees in Charlotte–so, before coming to Brown, my winter gear consisted of little more than a few sweaters and jackets.
While the first few freezing fall and winter days were a fun novelty for me, I also found that it’s easy to feel blue when you’re used to this being your inclement winter weather (note the Carolina blue skies and light dusting of snow on the ground that cause most North Carolinians to stay off the roads all day):
and instead wake up to this gray, bleak, hideous winter:
But fellow sun-lovers: don’t fret. I’ve found foolproof ways to beat those winter blues.
1. BUY A WINTER COAT
The coat you wore in the South or West Coast will not cut it here. Take it from a stubborn southerner who thought she could make it the whole winter with her old coat… get a warm af coat, like yesterday.
2. On that note, load up on as much fuzzy shit as you possibly can
I’m talking blankets, robes, Snuggies, sweatshirts, earmuffs, etc. Then put them all on at once and proceed to be hugged by everyone who passes by you.
3. Drink all the teas, coffees, ciders, etc.
Warm drinks in the winter make your soul happy.
4. Pet dogs. Cuddle dogs. Maybe even steal dogs. Just be around dogs as much as possible.
Must I even explain? This is scientifically proven to help basically everything.
5. Stay social
I know it can be easy to keep to yourself when the winter blues hit, but going out and spending time with your friends boosts your mood, while hibernation will just make you feel gloomier in the long run.
It seems impossible to trek all the way to the Nelson–and even more daunting to go outside and run–when you feel like an icicle, but working out releases endorphins and makes you feel happier in the winter months. Plus, working out will make you feel way less guilty about scarfing down all the Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies!
7. Make a Happy Playlist
And please turn off the Bon Iver. You’ll thank me later…
8. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone about how you feel!
Seasonal shifts in mood are very common and may not always be indicative of a condition like Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it can still be very helpful to talk to someone about these feelings! If the feelings persist and seem like a recurrent experience for you, it might be helpful to consider seeking other resources (like CAPS, Peer Mental Health Advocates, etc.) to ensure that your mental health is looked after – take care of yourselves, fellow Brunonians.