By Chelly Jin

Imagine a girl, pampered by the California sun, who for the past three years continued to wear shorts in the winter and knows absolutely nothing about how to dress for ‘chilly weather’. And now imagine the same child under the cloudy, gloomy skies of London. Seasons changing moods has a history of science behind it. And even as a student abroad student for a couple months, it’s easy to suddenly feel it’s effects or, I guess, the sun’s lack thereof. LATELY, I’VE FOUND MYSELF CONSISTENTLY GETTING SICK and also, finding a lot of my fellow study abroad friends catching colds or flus too.  And these physical trials can easily start to make the mental game more difficult to deal with. Homesickness becomes more real when I’m stuck in bed or anxious behavior is more prevalent when I get a bad cough that interrupts class.  Here are some tips I’ve conjured up in my time here in London in how to combat those grey clouds blues.

SLEEP 

I used to pull all nighters all the time at UCLA. All nighter as if it were a casual event. All nighters to go out with friends. All nighters to study. As a proper well-rounded UCLA student, I said why not both — why couldn’t I be a great student and a great adventurer. However, it sometimes just doesn’t work abroad. My body and mind weren’t used to all the stress that comes with a new environment and already dealing with a lot from the subconscious stresses of dealing with the things back home at the same time (i.e. apartment leases when I go back home, the clubs I’m still involved in back in UCLA, friends from home who still invite me to Facebook events knowing that I’m not in the country!)
I’ve been able to balance this out by being selective of my nights. I try to pick ONE night for fun until daylight. And if you’re not the one to hang out all night with friends playing rebel bingo, go home early. Sleep well. And pick ONE night to study all night. But I just couldn’t do both. Try to do readings during the day or right after class to get a week ahead start (heck, even right before class if you have to!) Try to start scheduling the nighttime activities a little earlier so the party ends earlier. 

DESTRESS 

This is an equally important one. Stress can lower your immune system, much like sleep and has indubitable effects on the quality of your mental health. Even when the excitement rushes through my veins and I don’t feel tired, my body is still managing behind the scenes to keep me together. So, make sure you take time for yourself to destress! Walk around, practice gratitude, meditate. Refer to my last blogpost on Best Places to Replenish My Busy Mind. ​ 

EAT HEALTHY 

Ugh, I know — but meat and greasy potatoes are EVERYWHERE! But in the instant gratification of all the kebabs, late night cheesy chips, on the go sandwiches from Pret, I completely forget to just eat an apple every once in a while! Seriously, I actually forgot what a fruit was.
McDonalds 20 piece chicken nuggets have become a ritual meal with friends, but I try to combat that with keeping fruits and veggies in my fridge to munch on or pack as snacks during class days. Fruits on season at Sainsbury’s can be as cheap as a pound for a sack of pears or plums. The £3 meal deals at Tesco are a meal, crisps and a drink– and sometimes it’s just nice to swap out for a salad, crisps, and a green juice for the same price.

VITAMINS  

Like I said earlier, London isn’t sunny California. Feel free to invest in Vitamin D pills or daily vitamin supplements. I also have a stash of Emergen-C or Vitamin C Green Tea on hand for the days I start to get the sniffles. ​

FINDING A FRIEND GROUP 

Unless they, too, are sick. Just kidding. There is something naturally comforting about having friends who you can rely on. Luckily, my floor mates and I will make each other ginger root, honey, and lemon tea when we’re sick or buy each other hand soaps when the other forgets. It’s nice to have people who can help you when you just aren’t feeling your absolute best or even having someone to talk to when you’re head isn’t in the right space. ​