WPSC offers aid for those struggling with winter woes

Brady Butler

When temperatures and the snowflakes start to fall, students tend to lose their interest in staying active and working out and often experience mood changes that affect school work. It seems the cold and shorter days drive people into their homes and to their TV shows and video games. It doesn’t take long to pack on a few extra pounds. Staying active is key to preventing high stress, increasing energy levels, improving your mood and keeping those pounds off.

Michiel Ford, a personal trainer at Maximus, said that people just become somewhat less concerned with what they are eating during the colder months.

“I have seen a lot of students who become depressed with the cold and find comfort in eating food all day and lying by the TV. If you do this enough over time you will gain weight,” said Ford.

Ford says students should aim for four to six, five to 10 minute mini work-outs throughout the day to maintain health and reduce your chances of experiencing holiday weight gain. Ford also says to stick as closely as possible to eating healthy things like fruits and vegetables. Keeping high on carbohydrates and water before and after you work out can keep energy up. If you do hit the weekends pretty hard Ford says you will need to put in a little more exercise time to compensate. He says a mix of cardiovascular and strength training is ideal to keeping your body in good health.

“I am not saying people need to go join a gym, but just be aware with what your doing with your body. You wouldn’t put sugar in your gas tank so why would you keep your body running on it,” said Ford. “My whole thing is the less junk food and alcohol drinking that you do the less work you will have to put into staying in good physical condition.”

Ford remembers college and knows that living on your own in a strange new environment is stressful and overwhelming. Anxiety and depression are often a common response to this type of stress. If you need help dealing with schoolwork or social pressures, go to the Washburn Psychological Services Clinic or just talk to a close friend and let them know how things are going for you. It is vital to keep social well-being as well as being personally fit.

There are a lot of other activities that you can enjoy during the winter Ford says. If you have children, sledding and snowball fights are an easy way to get the children involved. Washburn’s recreational facility and various community centers also have indoor leagues for students to participate in during the winter.

Cynthia Turk, from the Washburn Psychological Services Clinic says that the WPSC clinic has ways of helping students cope with these problems. The clinic specializes in individual and group therapy for anxiety and depression as well as for disorders and phobias. They deal with student anxiety issues ranging from test anxiety issues to public speech anxiety. The clinic usually starts with a short screening and identifies what issues they can treat. The clinic charges $5 a session, which usually last about an hour. Turk also says that people from the public are also welcome.

“We see a lot of students feeling overwhelmed and overstressed. College has a lot of demands for new students,” said Turk. “They are required to study and carry a job, and some students have children that they have to provide for. This can be quite hard for some people to manage life, work and school at the same time.”

Turk also said that there is a surge during winter months like January and February for people that need treatment. She thinks this comes from students New Year’s resolutions to want to get rid of certain phobias or anxiety.

“It is not easy to stay in shape when your friends are smoking cigarettes, eating unhealthy and drinking all the time,” says Ford. “All I can say is to stay positive, don’t let the winter get you down and keep as active as you can. I guess if you do all three you’ll be doing pretty well.”

The Washburn Psychological Service Clinic is located in Henderson Room 111. For more information about the clinic, visit http://www.washburn.edu/cas/psychology/clinic/index.html or contact Turk at [email protected]