With all the gloomy days that we’ve been having here in New Orleans lately, it’s hard not to feel a little down at times. Lack of sunlight can actually make you more susceptible to depression and sadness. This is most common in the winter months as the days get shorter and the sun is out for less amounts of time. But fear not, here are some tips to combat your rainy day blues, even when NOLA storm season has you wanting to spend all day in bed.
1. Spend Time Outside
This might sound contradictory, but spending time outdoors when the rain lets up will help you feel better emotionally and physically. Going to Audubon Park, walking down Magazine Street, or just taking the St. Charles streetcar downtown are all great ways to focus on the beauty of New Orleans, rather than staying cooped up inside all day. And of course, with the abundance of festivals around New Orleans and events on campus, there’s always something going on that’s guaranteed to peak your interest!
2. Be Active
As easy as it is to stay in your warm and cozy bed on a rainy day, getting the right amount of exercise is crucial to a healthy mind and body regardless of the season. Make sure you spend at least three days during the week being active to help relieve any tension that you’re feeling. With so many options for exercising Uptown and on campus, the world is your oyster. Both the Reily Center and Romney Studios have a variety of intense workout classes for those who enjoy a group setting. But if solo exercise is more your speed, try running along State Street or in Audubon Park for a change of scenery.
3. Stay Healthy
There’s nothing more appealing than digging into a big bowl of mac n’ cheese or demolishing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s when the weather is bad. No judgement; we’ve all be there. However, consistent unhealthy eating can harm your mental wellbeing, not to mention your physical health. You might feel good in the moment you’re eating that guilty pleasure, but your body and mind won’t get the substantial nutrients that they needs to function effectively, leaving you feeling lethargic and potentially worse than before. To fuel yourself and fight your woes, make sure you drink at least five large glasses of water a day, have one serving of fresh fruit, and throw in some vegetables and protein. Your mind and body will thank you!
4. Don’t Forget About Your Hobbies
When we feel down, it’s easy to forget the activities we love that make us feel like ourselves. While it may be easy to forget about hobbies with the stress of college alone, giving them some extra attention will help you feel happier and more energetic. If you enjoy creating art or listening to music, spend some free time in the studio working on that project you’ve been putting off! Make a playlist of all of your best hits! If you’re a tennis player and stopped playing because of the rain, pick up a squash racquet in Reily and get your swing on. Try to find a club related to one of your interests, and see what activities or meetings they offer during the week that fit into your schedule.
5. Spend Time with Friends and Family
Isolating yourself from the people around you is a common side effect of mental health struggles; we may want more space than usual or don’t want to bother the people we care about. However, this distance can worsten pre-existing feelings of depression and loneliness. Try to take initiative and make the effort to hang out with your friends around campus, whether at lunch in the LBC or just in someone’s room. Make sure you call your friends from home or your family to catch up too. Personally, Facetiming my best friend or my sister always puts a smile on my face, even when they are thousands of miles away.
6. Never Hesitate to Reach Out
This tip is last, but definitely not least. Although often neglected by students struggling mentally and emotionally, utilizing campus services is so important. It never hurts to reach out to the health center for support with what you’re going through. CAPS, Tulane’s counseling services, is made for this exact reason and aims to help every student in need. All information for CAPS can be found online at https://campushealth.tulane.edu/caps.
With the arrival of hurricane season in New Orleans, I hope these tips will bring a little sunshine to you on the rainy days to come!
COVER PHOTO: Nicole Kaufman