Happy December! Happy holidays! Happy Seasonal Depression Month!
However you’re celebrating this dark and depressing weather stage of the year, I hope you’re doing it while drinking lots of water, wrapping yourself up in a mountain of blankets, and reaching out to family and friends to remind yourself just how loved and cared for you actually are.
We are, of course, in one of those strange little half months when it comes to the school year – so there’s not a whole lot to talk about in terms of what’s going on this month at Christ Church.
I’ll of course add a list of events that are running in what time we have at the bottom of the post – or you can check the handy dandy Us in The World events page that Felicity tirelessly updates with even the most sustainability-adjacent activities and events – but for now, I thought we’d just briefly touch on the whole Seasonal Depression thing.
Seasonal Depression, actually known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, then shortened to be known as SAD, prompting me to believe that the disorder’s name was chosen for the specific purpose of the acronym, is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Some people have lower months during the summer, for example. While some, and it’s a large some, have their low moods during the winter.
These people may have symptoms of depression all year round, and just experience it more severely at a specific time of year – and for this post, that time is winter, which is fast approaching, although one might think it’s already here with the recent weather.
If you’ve been feeling out of sorts recently, perhaps SAD is the plague that hath afflicted you. A few symptoms to mix and match up against your own in a fun little spot the difference game are: persistent low mood, irritability, despair, lacking energy or interest in everyday activities, difficulty concentrating, and finding it hard to get up in the morning. There are more, of course, and you might only have a few, or some, or all of them in varying degrees.
So, what do you do if you have SAD?
First up is going easy on yourself. On being extra and overly kind – because there is nothing to gain at this point in the year from being hard on yourself and delivering a whole pamphlet of unpleasant words to your already vulnerable brain.
Next up is the good old natural sunlight. And I’m not joking; it’s actually a prescribed treatment for SAD to get as much natural sunlight as you can, and some even invest in light boxes that mimic sunlight to use in the darker hours. The NHS even encourage “light therapy” because it’s so useful to those stuck in dark winter months.
It’s thought the light may improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood).NHS
Thirdly, is everything else. Is reaching out and talking about it, is spending more time in nature, is exercising, rewarding yourself for reaching goals, limiting alcohol, getting more sleep, assessing your diet, and caring, very deeply, about how you feel. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not. It’s little things – and you don’t have to do them all. You choose the things that help, and if you notice SAD in your friends, you encourage them to do the same.
To talk, or practice mindfulness, or encourage a happier environment and put on a cheesy Christmas movie (I recommend Lindsay Lohan’s new banger, Falling for Christmas) and eat popcorn and mince pies and just relax, because although it can be a very cold and dark and sad time of year, there’s also a lot of joy in it.
String up some fairy lights. Bake a pie. Buy those sweet, cheap advent calendars on December 26th.
Look after yourselves (and your neighbours), and have a safe, happy December.
Here are a few fun things going on at CCCU this month:
- Tues 6th, 12 – 2pm, The Food Court, Canterbury Campus: Christmas Wrapping Paper Crafts Session – student + staff creative activity: Join Canterbury Creatives and the Student Green Office in decorating your own Christmas-themed recycled and recyclable wrapping paper and tags. Free event, materials provided. Organised by Canterbury Creatives.
- Tues 6th, 2 – 4pm, Laud Lg39, Canterbury Campus: Confidence & Self-Advocacy – student workshop: This workshop will help you to develop skills in verbal, written and body language to communicate effectively and confidently, delivered in a friendly, informal environment. Snacks and drinks will be available. Organised by the Student Wellbeing Service.
- Tues 6th, 5 – 6pm, Touchdown Café, Medway Campus: Carols on Campus – student + staff pop-up concert: Come and enjoy a little festive cheer with us!
- Tues 6th + 13th, 5 – 7pm, Augustine House, Canterbury Campus: Chooseday Chill – student wellbeing drop-in: Every Tuesday, come and relax with free tea and toast, play some board games, chat with other students and find out about the Student Wellbeing Service. Organised by the Student Wellbeing Service.
- Tues 6th, 6 – 7pm, Augustine House, Canterbury Campus: Self-help Book Group — student wellbeing book club: We have a range of resources to help students deal with a variety of long-term health conditions. Join us every Tuesday during term-time to discuss your reading and share your experiences. To join please email email@example.com. Organised by the Library.
- Weds 7th, 10am – 12pm, Augustine House, Canterbury Campus: StressLess Free Hot Chocolate – student drop-in: Come along and grab yourself a free hot chocolate with all the trimmings including squirty cream, marshmallows, wafers, flakes and more.
- Weds 7th + 14th, 12 – 4pm, Johnson Wellbeing Garden, Canterbury Campus: Potter & Prune – gardening drop-in and nature chill-out space: Join us for our weekly Weds afternoon drop in: hang out and enjoy the local flora and fauna, adopt yourself a mini-allotment to grow things, or grab a spade and get stuck in tending our community wildlife garden. Organised by the Academy for Sustainable Futures.
- Weds 7th and 14th, 12 – 2pm, Blake Building, Medway Campus: World Cafe – student community event: Every Wednesday, join us for free tea and coffee as well as a chance to make new friends on the Medway campus.
- Weds 7th, 2 – 4pm, Daphne Oram Café and Gallery, Canterbury Campus : Wednesdays in the DO, Board Games – student + staff wellbeing activity: Break up your week with a new event or activity every Wednesday afternoon in Daphne Oram. Activities are always free and open to everyone.
- Weds 7th + 14th, 4.30 – 6pm, Augustine House AH3.21, Canterbury Campus : Creative Connections — student wellbeing event: Every Wednesday, come and join this gentle, no-pressure group where you can try out a variety of creative materials and get to meet new people. Organised by the Student Wellbeing Service.
- Weds 7th, 5 – 8pm, Daphne Oram, Canterbury Campus: ‘Made This’, How I Created a Sustainable Fashion Brand – creative arts lecture: A brand new lecture series hosted in Canterbury’s creative hub the Daphne Oram building. Our guest speakers from the creative arts will share their journey and creative process.
- Fri 9th, 10.30am, starting at Augustine House, Canterbury Campus: Diamond Netwalking Club #4 – networking walk: Business partners, staff and students are invited to join us for the fourth of four themed walks throughout our Jubilee year. The theme for this month is Christmas. Join us for a festive walk around the City, before ending our walk at Kent Cricket, The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury for warming mulled wine and mince pies. Organised by the Enterprise team and Academy for Sustainable Futures. (Booking required, placed limited)
- Fri 9th, 2 – 4pm, Augustine House 2nd floor, Canterbury Campus: StressLess Christmas Decorations – student crafts and wellbeing activity: There will be a variety of activities and crafts for you to get creatively festive with, from Plaster of Paris decorations to paint and decorate, to paper crafts.
- Fri 9th, 7 – 8.45pm, Canterbury Cathedral: Carols by Candlelight – carol concert: Join us in Canterbury Cathedral for one of our favourite university Christmas traditions. (Tickets are free, booking required).
- Weds 14th, 2 – 4pm, Daphne Oram Café and Gallery, Canterbury Campus: Wednesdays in the DO, Open Mic – student + staff wellbeing activity: Break up your week with a new event or activity every Wednesday afternoon in Daphne Oram. Activities are always free and open to everyone.
- Thurs 15th, 3 – 5pm collection, Verena Holmes Plaza, Canterbury Campus: Veg Box Pop-Up – student + staff veg box collection point: Order yourself a vegbox before 7am on the Tuesday prior to each collection day to get your 4-8kg mix of local seasonal organic vegetables from a local farm, Ripple Farm Organics, delivered direct to campus. Veg boxes are £6 each, payment due by card upon collection. Please note: despite the name, bags and boxes are NOT provided to cut down on waste and keep prices as low as possible, so please bring your own. Organised by the Veg Box Project in collaboration with the Chaplaincy, Christ Church Students’ Union and Student Green Office.
By Bethany Climpson, Sustainability Engagement Assistant