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Advice by Abi: Managing the colder months

By hannahk 02 Nov 2023

As we are approaching the last few months of 2023, the long summer days and warm weather are starting to disappear...

The colder months may affect some people more than others for example seasonal depression is said by the NHS to effect around 12 million people in Northern Europe however, there are things that can help improve your mood so, your motivation, studies and quality of life doesn’t suffer while at uni.

Helping your health

While colds and illnesses are easily spread around campus whether it be during lectures, from flatmates or in public facilities, you don’t want to be stuffing your bag full of tissues or sat in a lecture trying to hold in a coughing fit. One way to help your health is by boosting your immune system. A simple way to do this is by trying to get as many vitamins as possible. 

Vitamin C can help boost your immune system while Vitamin D can have similar effects as being outside in the sun. Giving your body the nutrients it needs can be particularly beneficial in the winter months. Try incorporating some fruit and veg into your meals. To try and keep things cheaper, try purchasing fruit and veg that's in season or go for frozen fruit & veg which can be cheaper and last longer. Vitamin supplements from supermarkets or pharmacies can also help.

Staying active can do wonders for your health too. Sport Liverpool offer lots of weekly Turn up and Play sessions which you can join at any time, with no cost and they are completely commitment free! You can pick from dodgeball, pickleball, futsal and so much more - Find out more here. There are lots of Halls sport activities too such as Table Tennis league and tournaments. Keep an eye on the @livunihalls social media and weekly what's on email for more info!

As around 2 million are affected by ‘Winter Blues’ according to the NHS, If you need help for your mental health then you aren’t alone. Reaching out to family or friends for advice or support may improve your mood and give your brain an outlet to share thoughts and feelings so they don’t just build up and up in your head. Perhaps you are from a much warmer climate and haven’t experienced a Liverpool Autumn/Winter before so, family or friends may not relate to how you feel. If this is the case, then there are still people who can help! Try speaking to your Residential Adviser for advice, Halls staff or the University of Liverpool Wellbeing Team who can offer advice.

Click here to find out more about support available to you.

Good Food

One way to make you feel cosy and warm is eating good comforting food. A recipe I like to make is Shepherds Pie because I can freeze portions for later on and it is comfort food which still contains vegetables to keep healthy. To make this you will need…

a plate of food on a table 2
Ingredients needed
  • 1 Onion
  • 5-6 Potatoes depending on the size
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 broccoli
  • Vegetable stock
  • Mince (or Quorn Mince)
  • Splash of milk
  • 1tbs butter
  • Peas
  • Sweetcorn
  • Shepherds pie seasoning
  • Firstly, dice the onion and cut up the vegetables depending on how big you want the pieces to be.
  • To make the mash potato, peel then cut the potatoes then add them to a pot of boiling water and let them cook away
  • While the potatoes are cooking, put the broccoli and carrots in a separate pot and like the potatoes boil them too.
  • Add the onion to a pan and fry until starting to go brown/translucent.
  • Add in the mince to the onion and wait till it’s browned.
  • After, put in the peas and sweetcorn followed by the stock and add water.
  • Let it simmer for a few minutes
  • When the potatoes and veg are ready, drain them and set aside
  • To make the mash add the butter and milk then mash until smooth
  • Get a baking dish or air fryer basin and put the mince mixture inside.
  • Add the mash on top then spread the mash round the dish to cover the mince.
  • Put in the oven at 180 degrees for around 10 minutes or until the mash is crispy.

Take out of the oven add the broccoli and carrots then enjoy!

Rainy Day/winter activities

When the days get shorter and the cold weather increases, it is possible to feel less motivated to do tasks whether it be Uni work or hobbies and instead it can be more tempting to just curl up in a warm bed. While it is important to rest and keep warm, doing creative projects or important tasks can make you feel more productive and can be a distraction from boredom when you are stuck inside.

I made a Macramé decoration for my room and used shells I gathered as a reminder of summer and the beach. Other easily accessible activities could be painting, journaling, coding or learning a new language.