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.
Dreary weather 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 students are already ankle-deep in midterm season and any new-school-year excitement has almost certainly worn off.
All of this can maximize feelings of fatigue, gloominess, and a lack of motivation. Lots of people feel 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 that has 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 a gym to do it (although going out can be a mood booster!)—YouTube has made it possible to stay active anywhere. Here are some channels I've found helpful:
HASfit: “at home personal training,” but free
Want more ideas to get moving? Check out these apps and websites that can (quite literally) keep you on your toes.
If you're feeling rainy season blues, you might be tempted to cocoon and avoid your friends or family, 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.
During my undergrad days, I went to trivia every Monday night with some pals (we were not very good, but we still had fun!) and I had 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.
Being creative can also be a great way to make yourself feel a little less heavy. You could try drawing (or colouring), playing music, baking, doing puzzles, or journaling.
Seek out help
It's common to feel a little down when the rain starts to fall. If you're facing challenges, UBC can connect you with lots of great resources for rising above the season.
A good starting point is the "Health and wellbeing" section on the Student Services website, where you can:
- Find simple self-care tips, strategies, and resources
- Learn more about nutrition, sleep, the nature of stress, and other health-related topics
- Get info on how to reach out for help and what to expect when you do
You can also access the following services for additional support:
- Empower Me: This is a free counselling and life-coaching service available to all UBC students. You can access Empower Me services 24/7 online, in person, or by calling 1-844-741-6389.
- Counselling Services: You can make an appointment with a Wellness Advisor who can work with you to identify your concerns, develop a wellness plan, and connect you with the level of support that’s right for you. You can also drop in for a single-session counselling appointment.