This may seem like a tough sell, but I’m here to convince you that there is actually a lot of good to be found in the cold, dark depths of the winter months. For me, it’s all about the simple pleasures. For example, this is the only time of year that allows you to wear hoodies and jumpers to campus without overheating and stopping halfway up a hill to remove them. Do not underestimate that. Winter is also the perfect time to practise self-care; this has different meanings to different people, but to me it means indulging in my favourite foods, watching just that one more episode than usual on Netflix during study breaks or maybe even forking out for a nice soy candle to accompany my nights in. At a time when everyone tends to feel a little down, it is also the perfect opportunity to bring people together – after all, sometimes all we need is some good company to cheer us up. The biggest pro of all? This can cost barely anything. You don’t need to book a fancy skiing holiday or spend £20-per-head on a Christmas dinner at a posh restaurant in town to have a good time; make your own Christmas dinner as a house, stock up on the finest Christmas films and organise a Secret Santa (a £5 limit is recommended). For addressing the post-Christmas blues, rather than trekking to Fever in the cold, why not save money by arranging weekly movie nights? Implement a strict ‘bring your own drinks, snacks, pillows and blankets’ policy and you’re all sorted. Again, winter is all about the simple things – comfort food, cosy clothes and good company, all of which can make these months a lot easier to get through.
When characters in Game of Thrones say, “Winter is coming”, they don’t mean it in a good way. While we don’t have to fear White Walkers, winter for us poses its own problems. To start with, dressing for winter, especially in Exeter, is a painstaking process. Anything you put on to combat the cold for going outside becomes irrelevant after the first ten minutes of climbing the hills, until you become a sweaty puddle, praying for that cool breeze you had earlier dreaded when getting dressed. The darker evenings become soul destroying when it’s only five o’clock! Coming out of a lecture in the dark makes you realise that at this time of year, you barely see daylight. Winter is also a very expensive time of the year. With all those festive drinks from Costa that you purchase to try to keep yourself warm, the Christmas presents for your nearest and dearest, and the Christmas events and socials that you pay to attend, your finances do not relish winter. Aside from the low light levels and freezing temperatures when walking, driving by car involves de-frosting the windows; snow brings with it the possibility of delays and cancellations to trains and planes; and let’s not even get into the biting wind that burns your face pink. So, enjoy your Christmas themed Costa drink, you’re going to need it.