On average, it rains for 50% of the year in Vancouver. Months of grey skies, steady drizzle, and constantly having to remember to bring your umbrella can get exhausting.
All that gloom can lead to some pretty negative vibes on campus. Some studies even suggest that a lack of sunlight can lead to a drop in serotonin, also known as “the happy hormone,” which can have a major effect on your mood. Couple that with the fact that, by October, most of us are already ankle-deep in midterm season and any new school year excitement has almost certainly worn off. It can feel pretty bleak.
All of this can exacerbate feelings of fatigue, negativity, and a lack of motivation. Almost everyone feels the winter blues (maybe students even a bit more, I’d say!). The good news? You’re not alone, and there are things you can do to bring your spirits up.
Eat healthy and exercise
When it’s gross outside, it’s easy to give in to cravings for unhealthy, processed snacks but fuelling your body with healthy food containing lots of nutrients is key to boosting your energy. Try to include at least some veggies in every meal (baby carrots or frozen peas are perfect, easy additions) and stick to snacking on fruit or other healthy, energizing options.
Exercise is also great for your mental wellbeing. Dragging yourself out of bed might seem impossible sometimes, but it’s worth it to get your body moving. You don’t even have to go all the way to the gym to do it - Youtube has made it possible to be fit without ever leaving your home:
HASfit: “at home personal training,” but free
You might be tempted to cocoon yourself and avoid others when the negativity of the rainy season sets in, but connecting with others can actually help you feel more like yourself. This can mean studying with people from your classes, asking your roommate about their day, calling your family, video chatting with long-distance friends, or even scheduling time with UBC friends who are just as busy as you.
I go to trivia every Wednesday night with some pals (we are not very good, but we still have fun) and I have a standing date to check out new restaurants every Saturday with a different group. Blocking out time like this is comforting because, no matter what, you know you’ll have a couple of hours a week to relax.
Practice self care
Just as important as connecting with others is taking time for yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in school, but you will feel better (and be a better student) if you relax a little. Spend some time each day reading a good book or watching that TV show everyone’s talking about, or even just going for a walk.
Seek out help
Everyone feels a little down when the rain starts to fall. UBC has lots of great resources for rising above the season.
Check out these self-help resources, and know that you’re not alone.
You can also reach out directly for support: