By Kate Palmer
It may be the season to be jolly, but for many of us the cold weather and lack of sunlight leaves us feeling less than cheerful. Colds, coughs, or just general winter blues can all take their toll on our stock of cheerfulness. But there are a number of simple strategies that can help.
Obviously a healthy diet is important at any time, but especially at this time of year you need to give your immune system a helping hand with plenty of vitamin C. Cardiff Market and nearby Queen Street have several fruit and veg stalls, so it’s easy to stock up. Regular exercise can help prevent illness too, but don’t forget to wrap up extra well if you’re heading outside.
And if illness does strike, there are a number of simple remedies you can pick up in the local supermarket. Homemade herbal teas can be used to treat a range of symptoms, such as sage for a sore throat or thyme for a cough. Garlic is also great for treating colds and flu (don’t forget to chew some fennel seeds before you go out to get rid of the smell though!) and ginger can help to boost poor circulation. See if you can find some elderberry cordial or syrup too, as this is packed with vitamin C and immune-boosting properties.
If the long hours of darkness are making you feel lethargic and a bit down, you are definitely not alone! Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD) is extremely common and severe during the winter. Try to get outside during daylight as much as possible, even if it’s only a walk to the shops. As a nature lover, I find a ten minute stroll in Bute Park really helps to lift my spirits. Why not explore the Christmas Market, or just pick a new part of the city to visit? Most importantly, don’t shut yourself away in your room for days on end. Talk to your friends, and don’t be afraid to seek out Student Support Services if you need to. It can often be really tempting just to hide indoors from the cold, but if you force yourself to get out and do things, it’s amazing how the weather doesn’t seem quite so bad. And if it really is too stormy to go out, why not put up some tinsel, grab a mug of cocoa and get your flatmates together for some board-games? You’ll be feeling the Christmas spirit in no time!