10 Tips: How to beat the winter blues

10 Tips: How to beat the winter blues

Categories: 10 of the Best, Camden, Kentish Town, London Living


Do you miss the Christmas fairy lights and magical holiday atmosphere, and can't cope with the dark mornings anymore? January can be the gloomiest month of the year for many indeed. If you experience sadness and difficulty concentrating these days, you may be dealing with the winter blues. The good news is that you are not alone and that there are things you can do to feel a lot better!

Whether you are here in London studying English with us or at home and thinking about the year ahead, you’ll be feeling better in no time if you try a few of our top 10 tips below!

1. Set new goals and get excited about your next project

New Year, new you - what a cliché we know, but there is a reason why this phrase comes around every January. Setting weekly goals or New Year's resolutions can be great for you, and we explained why in more depth in our previous blog - which you should add to your "must-read" list.

To enhance your motivation, consider learning new skills and engaging in activities that bring you joy. This will keep your mind occupied and lead to personal growth.

Looking to identify your interests? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What excites me?
  2. What empowers me?
  3. Who did I want to become when I was a child?
  4. What am I good at?
  5. What skills help me to overcome hurdles?

If you get stuck with your answers, you can find plenty of interactive quizzes online, giving you a better idea of what you enjoy doing. And If you are trying to figure out your next career move, this quiz might be helpful. When you're ready to commit, please share your new goal with us so we can cheer for you!

2. Meet up with family and friends regularly

We know that reaching out for support when feeling down can be challenging, but it's important to remember that help is available and socialising can make a difference. While it can be difficult to find the energy to move from bed or the couch, try the following to overcome these feelings:

Set small, achievable goals for yourself each day, such as making a phone call / video call with friends or family (surrounding yourself with your loved-ones in times of joy or distress can provide comfort and support).

Our SCL student support staff is also available for a friendly chat whenever our learners need it. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help. If you don’t feel like talking, send us an email at info@sclinternationalcollege.com or feel free to chat to us online on our website. Our online chat is usually open between 9am to 6pm (GMT).


3. Listen to a motivational podcast

Podcasts are great if you want to educate yourself on your favourite topic or want to relax and listen to entertaining shows. For English learners, podcasts are an excellent tool as they provide an opportunity to listen to diverse conversations while also enhancing pronunciation skills.

Below we bring you the top three motivational podcasts you should check out this winter.

1. Tony Robbins Podcast

Tony Robbins features insightful lessons from interviews with some of the most successful people in the world. He has spent over 40 years transforming other people's lives.

2. The school of greatness

Learn how to reduce stress and manage your mind with Lewis Howes.

3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin shares insights, strategies, stories, and tips that help people understand themselves and create a happier life.

If you are still not convinced that podcasts are the right fit for you, here are some other benefits of listening to them:

  • Cutting down the screen time,
  • Listening while exercising,
  • Helping to improve your listening skills.

4. Make yourself healthier meals and gain more energy

Did you know that food and mood are connected? Nutrient-rich foods and a healthy balanced diet will reduce the number of mood swings, and eating regularly will not only keep your sugar levels steady, but it will also boost your energy.

Have you heard of getting your five a day? Eating a variety of food is essential for longevity and keeping us mentally and physically healthy. Remember to also include in your diet minerals, vitamins and fibre, which you can find in fruit and vegetables. Let's beat the January blues by eating healthier!

If you are not dining at our campus restaurants and prefer making your own meals in your student accommodation, we recommend you check out BBC good food for inspiration - they have something for podcast lovers too!

If you struggle to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during the winter months, then taking a daily multivitamin can be a simple and convenient solution to ensure that your body is receiving the essential nutrients it needs.


5. Bury yourself in a good book

Escape to a tropical beach or take on the role of a hero in a high-stakes adventure - immersing yourself in a good book can not only spark your imagination and expand your vocabulary, but also provide a welcome distraction from negative feelings. If you're struggling to find the perfect story at home, consider visiting your local library for inspiration.

Tip! Our Camden and Kentish Town students can visit our own on-site libraries or sign up with the Kentish Town library and borrow books while in London. Students need to bring to the library their identification card and an SCL International College letter confirming their residence address (ask our student support staff to provide you with one). Students with membership cards can also access Camden's digital library and enjoy listening to audiobooks on the go.

Reading is both affordable and enjoyable, and we hope you’ll find a captivating story that transports you to new and exciting places.

Discover London

6. Redecorate your room and sleep better


We could list thousands of reasons why you should establish a good sleep routine. But instead, let's look at a few practical steps which will help you to improve your habits right away:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.
  • Purchase essential oils for a better night’s sleep (lavender oil is top-of-field when it comes to helping with sleep).
  • Avoid daytime naps.
  • Establish healthy eating habits.
  • Redecorate your room.
  • Ensure your bedroom is dark enough to encourage sleep, or try wearing a sleep mask.
  • Avoid digital screens - try listening to relaxing music or doing some light meditation before bedtime.

Also, you don't have to wait till March to do your Spring room makeover - bring on the colourful vibes right now! If you're studying with us right now and looking for some room décor inspiration, then check out this Insta video.

7. Go on a walk and explore your neighbourhood

We know it's chilly outside and you might prefer staying indoors, watching your favourite Netflix episodes all day long whilst sipping hot chocolate! But natural light increases the levels of serotonin in your brain, which helps to improve your mood - so for your own good, it's time to move away from the screen!

Tip! If you are staying at our Camden or Kentish Town campus, put on your winter jacket, grab our Kentish Town guide and explore the neighbourhood. Kentish Town is a residential area with a bustling high street and vibrant eateries - we are confident you will love it!

To enjoy daylight as much as possible, be aware that the sun goes down in the UK around 5 pm in winter. And if walking and listening to inspirational songs help you to recharge your batteries, we encourage you to check out our SCL Spotify playlist. Listening to good music will help you beat the winter blues, and who knows? You may learn a new English phrase or two!


8. Exercise more and feel better about yourself

Let's bring those stress levels down, shall we? Whether it's a high intensity workout or light jog or group yoga class, all forms of exercise have a positive effect on both your body and mind, because when exercising, your body releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones.

Good vocabulary tip! Runner's high - if you complete a long run but feel like running even further then it’s very likely that you're experiencing runner's high. During this time, you'll find yourself in a deeply relaxing state of euphoria.

SCL Camden and Kentish Town students can use a gym on campus for FREE 24/7 - so go on that treadmill today! Or, if you want to boost your serotonin (which increases with daylight) and endorphins (which increase with exercise), you can, for instance, hire a Santander bicycle and explore London at your own pace.


9. Take a break from the news

If you check what's happening on social media or in the news every minute then we suggest you break this habit. You may argue that it is important to be aware of the latest current events, but the truth is that becoming obsessed with the news can feed your anxiety.

Fact! Surrounding yourself with too much gloom and doom can eventually trigger a negative feeling inside you.

We recommend you find a hobby or hands-on activity that will keep your mind busy. Current events are constantly changing, and we don't think it's a good idea to be glued to your phone screen all the time. For a start, check the news once a day - but not before bed!

10. Find us at our school front desks for a friendly chat

We want our international students to have an amazing learning experience at our college. Our teams are welfare and safeguarding trained to high standards. We believe in our school's quality, and our students' welfare and well-being are our priorities. If anything worries you, please come and chat with us - we are here for you.

Feeling sad or down sometimes, especially during winter, could signify the winter blues. However, when sadness interferes with your ability to function in your daily life, it could be something more serious. Please remember that it's ok not to feel ok, and do not hesitate to contact your local GP to seek advice or speak to our student support staff at our college.

Here's a few more helpful links to explore:


Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Embrace Adventure

At SCL International College in London, our student support staff encourages you to stay positive and reminds you that stepping out of your comfort zone, like coming to London, is a great way to beat the blues! We can’t wait to welcome you to our campuses.

Contact us now to book a short language course or a mini-stay in our accommodation and grab a flight for a winter break in London.

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