Coping with a UK winter
With dark, cold nights and rainy days, we know that winter in the UK can be a tough time of year. That's why we've compiled this quick list of things you can do to make sure you're taking care of yourself and staying as cheerful as possible during these tricky months.
1. A sense of connectedness
Whether you’re meeting up with friends from your university, networking with fellow Cheveners, or chatting on Zoom to family back home, it’s really important to maintain a feeling of being connected. Forcing yourself out into the cold and dark to meet people might feel very counter-intuitive, but studies have shown that feeling connected boosts not only our mental health, but can also have a positive impact on physical health too.
2. Acts of kindness
Studies have also shown that performing acts of kindness can have a huge impact on your mental health, even in the face of a particularly grey winter. Volunteering during this period is a perfect way of managing this. Offering your time for free is a great way to give back to your local community, and make a lasting impact. Additionally, it is recommended by the NHS as 1 of 5 steps to take for mental well-being. Have a look at our volunteering page to find opportunities near you.
3. A sense of purpose
One of the hardest things about winter is how interminable it seems – the grey days never end! A really good way to combat this is to maximise your sense of purpose. As a Chevener, your studies and the degree you’re working towards can provide this. While it’s important to find a balance between your work and relaxation, focusing on your ultimate goal and creating achievable milestones along the way will definitely make these winter months pass more easily.
4. Practice ‘hygge’ – prioritise it!
Hygge is a Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” The lifestyle associated with it became popular in the UK a few years ago – largely because of the similar climates – with people proclaiming the benefits far and wide. Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, despite its tough winters, so perhaps practicing hygge is the best answer to the January blues…
Alternatively, you can always buy a SAD lamp, designed to emulate the effects of sunlight, and use that until the hour changes. It won’t be too long now! And don’t forget there’s a whole range of mental health resources available to you if you’re finding the winter particularly challenging.