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Top Tips to Help You Beat SAD

Category: Cardiff, Student Life, Exeter

Wondering why you feel blue, regardless of the current climate? SAD - or Seasonal Affective Disorder as it's also known - can affect many of us when dark days draw in, daylight is shorter and the mood turns to winter.

We've been researching the best ways to stay cheerful in these challenging times.

Please find below our tried and tested tips, to boldly banish those blues...

Write it Down

You've probably heard every wellness guru, influencer and positivity activist go on about the power of writing down your feelings, but you know, it really does help. Whether it’s typing down your thoughts into your notes on iPhone, or charting your wellbeing and feelings into an App or randomly typing into your laptop, it’s all good. Remember to take ten minutes out of your day to reflect on how you’re doing and what you’re feeling in that moment.

Eat Right

There's no one magic superfood to improve your mood but eating more nourishing foods and aiming to include more fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices in your diet can only reap fantastic rewards. Even tinned fish like tuna or sardines which are great on toast contain masses of Vitamin D, tinned tomatoes are loaded with Vitamin C and onions and garlic ward off all evils as they’re packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, thiamine, calcium, phosphorous, copper and even simple pasta sauces can be super delicious and nutritious. Also, even a little bit of chocolate – especially if it’s dark and cocoa rich – provides a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, just don’t eat the whole bar in one go, if possible. Don’t forget we have the Collegiate Virtual Chef series to join in with every month too!


Experience real sunshine whenever you can...go for a walk in the fresh air, even if its cloudy, to make sure you get those Vitamin D rays into your soul. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D - how cool is that?.. The suns ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D syntheses to occur. Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health. Failing that, "Daylight" is a smartphone based app that provides help to people experiencing symptoms of worry and anxiety, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques, voice and animation. Free access to both Sleepio and Daylight is active now until 31 December 2020.

Break a Sweat on Your Bike

Get on your bike courtesy of the Neighbourhood and ride one of our great bikes around town. Or book yourself into our gym, go for a run outside or do a virtual workout. Any form of exercise increases happy endorphins and all types of keep-fit has been shown to improve your mood as well as decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise also increases brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of anxiety. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter how intense your workout is, your mood can benefit from exercise no matter the physical activity. BTW we don’t think playing Xbox or PlayStation counts!!

Keep a Plant

Earlier this year we gifted you all a grow your own succulent kit, we hope it was a success? Plants give off lots of oxygen during the day and look super cool. Studies have shown indoor plants boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity as well as reduce your stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds. Plants help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity & producing oxygen. What’s not to love, hey? Our fave places to buy them online include Patch and of course Amazon.

Be Smug and Make Your Bed

Wellbeing author Gretchen Rubin, writer of the best-selling book, The Happiness Project, says that the biggest most simplest thing you can do is, "Make your bed." First, making your bed is a step that’s quick and easy, yet makes a big difference. Everything looks neater. It’s easier to find your shoes. Your bedroom is a more peaceful environment. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm! Secondly, sticking to any resolution - no matter what it is - brings great satisfaction.

Smell the Coffee

Think about the aromas in your own life that bring you most joy, and enjoy them again and again. Experience your own personal aromatherapy moment. Is it freshly brewed coffee in the morning? Newly washed sheets straight out of our laundry room? The soap that your mum sent you? Your super minty toothpaste? Bubblicious cheese on toast? Whatever beings you most pleasure, there are ways of amplifying this to ensure your nose gets a piece of the happy action too. Try sprinkling lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you sleep more easily. And the smell of even a simple lemon promotes concentration.

Friday Night Film Club

Pizza will be available in the reception from 6pm as usual and a film will be streamed via Kast from 7pm.  (At Exeter, because we’re under lockdown, it’s then back to your rooms with your pizza please.) This week we’ll be watching 'Crazy Rich Asians' the 2018 American romantic comedy film. It follows a Chinese–American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend's family and is shocked to discover they are among the richest in Singapore! Enjoy.

Finally... Get Involved!

'SET YOUR MIND ALIGHT' Social competition is running at Cardiff. Guess how many matches are in the jar.  The closest number to the actual amount in the jar will win a £10 Amazon gift voucher (Closing date this Friday 13th).  Also remember we’re trialling Keep Fit on a Tuesday at 4pm and Thursday at 10am – please remember to sign those forms at reception.

If you have any top tips for smiling you would like to share, simply go to our social media @livestudyenjoy and we look forward to hearing from you!