students in rain
October 15, 2018
3 mins read

How to weather the weather

On average, it rains for 50% of the year in Vancouver.

We've had a spectacularly sunny October this year, but as Robert Frost once wrote, "Nothing gold can stay." This is still the Pacific Northwest, so we're sure to see plenty of grey skies, steady drizzle, and wet socks over the next few months.

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 the gym to do it—YouTube has made it possible to be fit without ever leaving home:

Stay connected

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.

I go to trivia every Monday 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.

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. UBC can connect you with lots of great resources for rising above the season.

If you’re facing challenges, help is available. Check out these health topics for everything from symptoms to supports:

Or reach out for direct support:

  • Empower Me: 24/7 counselling and life coaching, available online or by phone, free of charge for students who have the AMS/GSS Health Plan.
  • Wellness Advisors at Counselling Services: in-person mental health assessments available for students who are feeling persistently sad, anxious, or stressed.