December 8, 2022

Dealing with winter stress

The bitter bites of winter produces stress a lot more than most seasons.

On the Commuter website, there was a stat that tracked what articles were being read between the dates of  December 20 to January 8, one of the many articles being read were: Better Help or Better Harm?, ‘Tis the Seasonal Depression and An Open Letter: To Those in Need of a Hug.

These articles were the most read and thus opened up a discussion with Matthew Bartholemew, associate professor and counselor at Northampton Community College, who agrees that winter is the most stressful season. Students are getting out of college in December then back to school in January, “it’s a lot of transitioning. It’s a lot colder and darker too.”

“It’s hard to get moving and be active,” Bartholomew said. “Harder to do when it’s dark at five and freezing. It makes things difficult even for those who are usually active.”

For other students, many of what they need to get done is pushed off because of exhaustion. 

Proactive schedule prepares students for exams before burn out. Reactive schedules do not prepare students and instead focuses on what is due then.

“Educating students to be proactive instead of reactive,” he said. 

This is one of the ways Bartholomew has said helps relieve stress.

“Prepare for what you can. Manage time effectively, don’t procrastinate,” Bartholomew said about reactive students. “Organize early and avoid chaos later.”

Bartholomew explained that stress can be created when students anticipate due dates or push them back until the last minute. Students should practice self-care, relaxing techniques, and gratitude to those who love and care for them.

“Focus on what you can control. Take time to enjoy small things and [your]self,” he said.

Some students have been through the experience of college stress, so they can anticipate it and schedule an appointment with their counselor before it becomes overwhelming, Bartholomew said. 

One way students can help destress weekly is during Wellness Wednesday, where students practice yoga, zumba, and discuss healthy eating. Wellness Wednesday is held in College Center 166 from 12-1 p.m. 

“It’s a nice break for the week,” Bartholomew said.

There is a lot of pressure for students to succeed and life happens. If you want to schedule an appointment, you can contact counseling at 610-861-5342 at the Bethlehem campus or 570.369.1842 at Monroe. Counseling will be moved to College Center 341 mid-March. You can also use the link below to be able to learn more about the counselors and the service each one provides.

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