Winter drag

Maintaining good mental health during the winter season

Courtesy of Dominik Dombrowski/

Trinity Whyte, Staff Writer

The winter season can be tough for anyone—even the people who seem to have their lives together. Especially during these cold winter months, people may experience overbearing parents, annoying in-laws, seasonal depression, the break in normal routine and so much more can all leave you feeling exhausted, burned out and depressed. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this potentially difficult time. There are many options that you can take advantage of to maintain good mental health, as the following provides some examples of what you can do. 

Talking to a mental health professional

The most obvious option is seeing a mental health professional regularly to discuss any difficulties or challenges you are experiencing. Many therapists are offering appointments by phone or video conferencing apps, making professional help more convenient than ever. Some therapists also use a sliding scale to price their services, meaning that the amount they cost depends on your income. Essentially, this can make therapy affordable for even those struggling with money. It’s also worth noting that there is no shame in regularly speaking with a professional about your struggles—it is not a sign of weakness.

Connecting with people who make you feel comfortable

It’s also beneficial to keep in touch with the people in your life that you do like. Your great aunt might be toxic and draining to be around but talking to your best friend or another trusted person when you’re feeling especially poorly may be able to turn your day around. At the very least, it will give you and them an opportunity to reflect upon all the crazy stuff your family says and does. 

Many Schoolcraft students agree, too, like Jonny Grinnell, a criminal justice student, who says that “Being around friends and family always has a way of lifting my spirits.”

Staying positive during this time can be difficult but having a good support system, including those trusted friends and family, is key. 

Schoolcraft student, Katrina Wohlgemuth says, “During the holiday season, I like to stay optimistic and usually, I keep myself in an environment …  around people who help me stay in that kind of mood.”

Stick to your daily routine 

Keeping a routine may also be helpful to you. Breaking one’s regimen can disrupt all sorts of aspects of their life; you don’t need that during an already-stressful period. Try to keep a consistent routine if possible. This means sleep schedule, too. Maintaining your normal sleep times and good sleep hygiene can help you stay feeling physically well. Plus, keeping a good schedule will be beneficial when the winter semester starts up again—perhaps you won’t be as sleep deprived getting to your 10am class if you continue to practice your normal routine.

 Make self-care a habit 

Practicing regular self-care can help as well. Make a habit of it! Coloring in a coloring book, getting a manicure, reading a novel and exercising are all popular ways people take care of themselves. Self-care isn’t one-size-fits-all, though. Perhaps your self-care routine can involve petting your cat, watching a comfort tv show, or even baking. It’s important to do something to make yourself feel good, especially during a difficult time like the holidays. 

For example, Schoolcraft student, Nikki Kapadia, may work on her art during the break. She says “I like artwork! I have some art projects I could be doing.”

Be kind to yourself 

Don’t forget to treat yourself kindly, too. If you are feeling exhausted, depressed, or otherwise unwell, take some time to do something nice for yourself—it will help. This could look like taking a sick day from work, going out with friends, or treating yourself to your favorite snack. Although there may be more important, pressing matters you need to tend to, there are few things more important than taking care of your mental health.

Positive self talk 

Using positive self-talk is another way to treat yourself kindly and potentially help your mental health. Talk to yourself how you would to a good friend who is struggling. Be kind, be forgiving and be willing to hype yourself up. Your attitude and feelings are related to your self-talk, so make sure you’re being good to yourself.

Additional resources 

 If you’re on campus and anticipate poor mental health during the winter or any other time, there are a couple of different options open to you. The Hinkle Student Resource Center inside of McDowell has numerous resources that students can turn to should the need arise. They regularly stock pamphlets on depression, loss from suicide, and even helping others who may be suicidal.

If you are struggling with your mental health but are not suicidal, there are resources for you as well. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services runs the Certified Peer Support Specialist Warmline, which is best for people struggling with mental health conditions. They can be reached from 10am-2am everyday at (888) 733-7753.

If you are in crisis, please reach out. Dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It is available 24/7, and trained professionals are waiting to help. If you prefer to chat online with someone on the helpline, has a chat function that will connect you to the same professionals. Veterans who use the phone lifeline can also press 1, which will connect you to the Veterans Crisis Line.

An option also open to you is the hospital. The people who work there will keep you safe and help provide treatment if you are a danger to yourself.

The winter time are a difficult time for many. Remember there are many resources at your disposal and know that there are people who are more than happy to help you get through it.