Winter is known for many things: icey roads, a copious amount of shovelling, cancelled classes, and being a nearly impossible season for fashion. However, the most sinister result of this time of year is the winter blues. 

Mental health has become a paramount topic today – both in the general public and academia – and it can be affected by numerous factors. 

Nothing can replace trained, professional guidance and therapy, but it is also important to prepare ourselves and take precautions before the snow falls. 

However, we are not told this by our teachers, community leaders and – often – parents, and winter blues are a sort of accident that befalls unsuspecting individuals. 

Sometimes, they are brought on by a tendency to stay indoors during cold spells; remaining in an enclosed space is inhuman and has horrendous effects on our minds. 

Other times, we begin to miss activities we are passionate about but are difficult to engage in when snow and ice dominate our surroundings. 

People also die during the winter, and it is ingrained in us to fear it. 

Previous generations would go to huge lengths to prepare for winter, but we tend to just stumble into it. 

You can get a leg up on winter by reflecting on how your life was impacted in previous times and sooner rather than later. 

Do you know that your first reaction to adversity is to withdraw? Ask those around you to encourage you out, or write notes of reminder to yourself. 

Will you be missing out on one of your passions because of changing weather? Look into similar indoor activities to keep your mind and body occupied until it can be unleashed again. 

Do you hate the cold? Prepare your wardrobe in advance and budget more time before lectures to ensure you are protected from the elements. 

If you cannot afford better winter gear, it is far better to show up for class with a blanket than to stop showing up entirely and potentially falling into depression. 

Because that’s what we are fighting here: depression. 

The winter blues is a mental state brought on by the inconvenient changes of the season, but they can cause long-lasting and debilitating health conditions. 

The best defense when blue turns to black – that of the big black dog that clinical depression is often akinned to – is seeking medical help. 

There is no shame in this, and Laurier’s Wellness Centre has exceptional team that is prepared to help you fight this battle. 

You are not alone. 

But if you do have a leg up on this upcoming season and know you will be fine, consider lending a hand to one of your peers. 

As a community, it is our responsibility to think of others, and this notion of selflessness is critical when life grows dormant, energy is literally sucked from you and our environment becomes dangerous. 

This season, please prepare yourself or be open to helping others. In either case, you could be saving a life. 

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