Tag: Winter blues

Beating the winter blues: 7 tips to help students conquer the season

Students walk from Main Hall as snow falls on Main Hall Green.

Story by Madison Price ’23

With winter term comes a mix of a changes to campus.  Days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and schedules fill up.  And, honestly, that can leave us feeling a little more stressed, down, or exhausted than usual.   

There are many resources on campus that can help students get through any rough patches they may be experiencing. From taking care of mental health to finding ways to have fun during a snowy Wisconsin winter, Lawrence has the resources available to help all of us feel our best. 

1. Try the Sanvello app 

Did you know all Lawrence students now have access to a mobile app designed to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression?  Thanks to the Kaitlin Mahr Library Fund, Sanvello is completely free to all Lawrence students! Simply download the app on your smartphone and create an account using your Lawrence email to receive access to 100% of Sanvello’s content. 

While Sanvello does not replace mental health services, it can help to further the overall well-being of students in addition to the other services Lawrence provides.  Sanvello offers daily mood tracking, guided journeys, coping tools, weekly check-ins, meditation, and community support. Even better, students can choose whether they would like to share their Sanvello information with a Lawrence counselor to enhance their counseling sessions. 

2. Get yourself a mind spa 

Sometimes in a frenzy of exams, essays, and extracurriculars, we forget to take a step back and set aside time to give our brains the break that they deserve.  We have four spots on campus dedicated to doing just that. Choose from one of four mind spas on campus to recover, refocus, and rejuvenate your mind. At mind spas, students are given a quiet space where they can relax in a full-body massage chair and receive coaching on meditation. 

Scheduling an appointment at the mind spa couldn’t be easier. Simply call 920-832-6574 or email WellnessServices@Lawrence.edu to visit the main mindspa on the second floor of the Wellness Center. This mind spa is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Three other mini mind spas are available at the Conservatory, Sage, and Hiett. 

3. Seek sunlight (sort of) in a SAD lamp 

While the snow can make campus look especially wonderful, with winter also comes much shorter, darker days.  This can make students feel more down than usual, sometimes even causing Seasonal Affective Disorder. That’s why Lawrence has SAD lamps – actual lamps meant to mimic sunlight located in select buildings on campus. 

How can a SAD lamp help? Sunlight spurs the production of serotonin (the hormone responsible for feeling calm, happy, and focused) while darkness signals the release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for feeling sleepy.) Due to this, it’s no surprise that when students receive less sunlight in the winter, they often feel more lethargic and tired than usual. With a SAD lamp, students can receive artificial lighting that tricks their brains into thinking it is still light outside. This way, your brain will produce more serotonin during the day, and hold off on producing melatonin until you are ready to go to bed. SAD lamps can be found in the library on the fourth floor and in the Wellness Center Mind Spa. 

If you think you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is important that you see a counselor in addition to using a Happy Lamp. See how to make an appointment below.

4. Reach out for counseling

College life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes when we are at a low point, it helps to talk to another person confidentially. At Lawrence, counselors are available for free to help you with academic stress, roommate issues, mental health, relationships, drug/alcohol use, or anything else that may be bringing you down. 

Whether counseling is something you have done before or not, there is no reason to be worried. The Wellness Center staff will be there to guide you through the process of making an appointment, and the counselors will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. 

To make an appointment, simply stop by the front desk on the second floor of the Wellness Center and complete some initial paperwork. After that, someone will help you schedule your first appointment.  Counseling appointments are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If you would like to speak to a counselor right away and cannot wait for an appointment, stop by the Counseling Center during walk-in hours, Monday through Friday, with check in between 1 and 2:30 p.m. 

If you need to talk to someone outside of walk-in hours, do not hesitate to call the 24-hour Lawrence Counseling Line at 920-419-8167.   

For more information on Lawrence’s Counseling Services, visit the website here

Wellness and counseling services can be found in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center.

5. Stay active  

Sometimes in the midst of a snowy winter, it’s easy to forget about the wide array of physical activities you can find indoors on campus. The Wellness Center houses a weight room, exercise room, gymnasium, racquetball courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a gymnasium with an elevated track. Just ask the front desk to rent any sports equipment. 

If you want to get more fit but aren’t sure where to start, consider joining one of Lawrence’s organized athletic activities. This term, Lawrence has four intramural leagues: basketball, volleyball, badminton, and soccer. You can find the times that they meet here.  If none of the intramurals appeal to you, keep an eye out for yoga and TRX on the Lawrence calendar.

Exercise has many more benefits than just keeping you physically fit.  It can help you get better sleep, enhance your brain function by increasing the blood flow to your brain, improve your mood by increasing the production of endorphins, and it can even improve your energy levels. Even as little as 20 minutes a day can make a difference. 

S.O.U.P. provides all sorts of fun. This gingerbread house-making event was part of Winter Carnival. (Photo by Nora Murphy ’22)

6. Schedule fun with friends 

Although it may not seem like it, setting aside time for fun is just as important as setting aside time for schoolwork. Without mixing a few fun activities into your weekly schedule, it’s easy to burn out before the end of the term. There are opportunities every single day to take a breather from school and enjoy life on campus. Check the event calendar online or Lawrence’s Monday Instagram story for a full list of fun events coming up soon.

Every Friday and Saturday, Lawrence screens a new movie in the Warch Campus Center Cinema. To see what’s playing, check the event calendar online or stop by Warch and check out the movie posters outside of the cinema. 

In addition, SOUP hosts a variety of larger campus events throughout the year. Whether it be comedians, silent discos, or the Winter Carnival, SOUP never fails to bring amazing events right to campus. One event SOUP is cooking up for spring is the LU Zoo Days. Get excited for live music, grill-outs, and even a dunk tank. 

7. Pop the bubble 

While Lawrence is a great place to call home, everyone needs a break from campus from time to time to explore all the great things Appleton has to offer. Lawrence is located in the heart of downtown, so there is lots to do within a short walk. 

College Avenue has something for everyone’s taste buds. From coffee shops, to candy stores, to family-run restaurants, to bubble tea, and more, it’s hard to get around to trying everything during your time here.  Grab a few friends and eat something other than Toppers for once. 

Appleton is also home to some great museums. Ever wonder what that castle-like building next to the Conservatory is? That’s the History Museum at the Castle, where you can learn about the life of Harry Houdini and the history of Appleton. It’s not every day that you go into a castle to learn about a magician. Not far from this is the Trout Museum of Art. Located just a short walk from campus, visit today to be inspired by the incredible work of Appleton’s artists. Getting off campus every so often can give us a break from our daily routine and leave us feeling more refreshed when we return to campus. 

Winter can leave us feeling a little more down than usual, and that’s OK.  Many people on campus are experiencing similar feelings and there are lots of resources and people ready to help us get back on our feet.  Remember to take care of yourself, and next time you are feeling down, give a few things on this list a try. 

Madison Price ’23 is a social media fellow in the Communications office.