Staying healthy this winter

Some tips to help you thrive during the winter months.

When temperatures are frigid and the days are short, it’s sometimes difficult just to make it across campus much less a 4.0. Don’t let cold weather stop you from achieving your goals this semester. Here are some tips to help you cope with the additional mental stress of winter.

Truman the Tiger gets a COVID-19 vaccine
Truman the Tiger gets a COVID-19 vaccine at the Student Center Aug. 24, 2021. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

Mind-body connection

Your physical health and mental health are connected. Keeping your body nourished, rested and healthy has a positive effect on your mood and your ability to concentrate on classes and activities
“I can’t stress enough how important it is that you get enough quality sleep and eat right,” said Student Health & Well-Being Executive Director Jamie Shutter. “We all tend to short ourselves on sleep and turn to fast food when we feel stressed. It will go a long way toward building your resilience and help you meet the challenges of the coming weeks if you make an effort to prioritize your sleep and eat at least a couple nutritious meals each day.”

Shutter also recommended COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in addition to flu shots for anyone who hasn’t received them yet. “If you get the flu or COVID, that’s likely to disrupt your life for several days if not weeks. These vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and are a very simple way to protect yourself,” Shutter said.

Bootcamp at MizzouRec.
Bootcamp at MizzouRec. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

Stay active

Physical movement and activity are essential to well-being, especially during the winter months when we tend to be cooped up inside. Fortunately for Mizzou students, MizzouRec offers excellent facilities where they can move, play and thrive even when the temperatures drop.

“No matter what level of activity you’re accustomed to, we have tools to help you get moving,” said MizzouRec Director Stephen Byrd. “You can work out on your own, if you want, but many students also enjoy the social aspect of our free group fitness classes — in person or online — and the competitive spirit of club sports and intramurals.”

Dacia Slater and Chuck Burgess lead a mental health workshop using improvisation at the Wellness Resource Center.
Dacia Slater and Chuck Burgess lead a mental health workshop using improvisation at the Wellness Resource Center. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

Talk it out

If you ever need to talk to someone, you can call the MU Counseling Center anytime, day or night, at 573-882-6601. Many students benefit from the group counseling and skills classes.

“If you have the flu, you don’t stop from going to the doctor, because you’re afraid of someone finding out that you have the flu,” said Counseling Center psychologist Russell Jackson. “It’s kind of the same thing while you are having distress from family, from school, from friends, from a romantic partner.”

Lastly, please remember that you always talk to me. My door is always open. Please phone my office at 573-882-0157 or email me at if there’s ever anything I can do to help you.