SAD – What it is and what you can do about it

Given how cold it is outside, and I don’t know about you, but for me it’s getting a hell of a lot harder to try and force myself out of bed in the morning. Add into the mix that there’s black ice on the streets and roads, the commute into Uni just doesn’t sound all that appealing.

This could be just ordinary avoidance of the cold, or it could be something more than that.

If the feeling of not wanting to get up and get on with it is more prominent just now, it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the NHS website, “SAD is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter and they’re typically most severe during December, January and February.” I mean – how ideal is that this rears its head at the time of Christmas exam period? Not only are you probably feeling stressed out because of looming assignments and responsibilities – it’s just going to make you feel worse.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do to send these things away, but here are some tips on how to cope better – as taken from the Mind website – and I’ve added my own Strathclyde-specific anecdotes.

  1. Make the most of natural light. According to, Glasgow’s times of sunrise and sunset fall between 8.30am and 3.30pm. Even if you don’t have classes, try to get up before sunrise if you can. Make yourself some breakfast, maybe have some avocado with toast or eggs since buying a house isn’t really at the top of your list of concerns, anyway.
  2. Avoid stress. L-fucking-OL. Exams are coming up and by actuality, they are stressful. So, stress at this time will happen; but that’s okay. Try to take things at your own pace. Set up a study plan: MyStudyLife is an online and FREE tool for organising your Uni work, or you can always use some good old paper and colourful pens that might be good for both your creative side and productivity.
  3. Build a support network. Probably easier said than done sometimes, but know that at the Union there are currently 190 clubs and societies that registered. They are listed here: and it might be worth taking a break from studying to try something new, and potentially make new friends; and ergo, possibly, be able to build a support network of people probably in a similar boat as you are – given that it will be fellow students in these societies.
  4. Exercise and eat well. Okay, I usually hate this kind of advice. Feeling down? Go for a run! Join the gym even though your energy levels are at an all-time low and you’ve put on a shit load weight because it’s cold, so you’ve used that as an excuse to indulge in comfort eating! Pffft. I think with the exercise advice, though, it means more that you get yourself moving as opposed to sitting down for extended periods of time (which, you probably will be.) Even if it’s just a late night walk to level 2 of the Library to go to the vending machines – or up to level 5 to browse some literature that you might get to read one day, it all could help to levitate a low mood and it’ll get your eyes away from books/screens for a while. Also, you’re definitely not eating right just now, because you might be in the library for hours on end and you’re not able to get home to cook a proper meal. Try to prep a meal to take with you before you head out for the day, so that you won’t just be snacking all day.

Most of all – try to keep positive. I know it’s hard, but you’re almost there. You got this.

By Alisa Wylie