Our Voice: Finding warmth and comfort in the winter months

Winter is a lovely season. There’s something mystical about snow capped mountains, the peaceful quietness that is brought with everyone huddling inside for warmth. 

However, as serene as the winter months can be, you may have found that, perhaps, these cold days might just be a little too quiet. Maybe even a little too dark beyond one’s comfort.

Seasonal depression is real, and it can hit hard. So much so, one may not even find the energy to get out of bed. It’s a dark and cold wasteland outside, so what’s the point of forcing yourself out of your warm, comfy bed, anyway? One might think it would be fine to miss class—after all, it could be better than going out into the cold, right?

It’s these intrusive thoughts that take over oneself, and it can take everything in someone to fight them. Unfortunately, seasonal depression is a brutal thing to face, and not everyone can better their mental health during the winter. 

For college students, having these alterations in one’s schedule can drastically affect their overall status and wellbeing. For those dealing with seasonal depression, they can very quickly fall behind in their classes, not being able to find the energy or desire to keep up with their workloads. The start of a brand new semester, post-pandemic in the era of the perceived “new normal,” certainly doesn’t help at all. When you combine that shock of newness with the numbness of winter, burnout quickly creeps up.

It may explain why campus has been feeling so empty. Some of us at The Beacon have already made this observation—where is everyone? Lounge spaces and collaboration/study rooms that were once bustling with students are now completely empty, even when it would be the busiest hours of the day. 

As cliche as it sounds, we would like to emphasize the importance of self-care in times like these. It’s a complicated time, and you need to be able to take care of yourself in order to succeed and push through these dark and cold months.

It’s important to stay active and keep yourself busy. As comforting as it sounds to stay cooped up in one’s bed during the winter, that’s not going to suffice to help your mental wellbeing. 

Even upgrading the space and environment around you would help. Maybe invest in some string lights or ambient lighting to warm up your space with softly-toned lighting. Fragrance plugs are not only fire safe, but they can also bring comforting and nostalgic scents to your room. A mini humidifier can help your skin from drying out. A white noise machine can distract you from buzzing lights or overwhelming noises of the city. 

All of these not only relax you, but they keep your senses active, thus keeping you distracted from the busy and cold time. Creating a comforting environment will allow stability into your life, offering you space to study, work and hang out with friends.

The cold and dark winter months are just temporary. In the meantime, treat yourself to some hot chocolate, tea or a good cup of soup. After all, you deserve to be loved and comforted.