It’s January and winter has arrived on campus. Deerfield is blanketed in snow and the temperature has dipped well below freezing. While the temperatures will fluctuate, the next two months will undoubtedly bring more ice, snow, cold and darkness.
To avoid the winter blues, it’s important for your student to remember a few important guidelines to stay healthy and de-stress this term:
Get Outside, Stay Active – Fresh air and sunshine are helpful to maintaining better moods, allowing the absorption of some vitamin D. Start by opening shades or blinds during the day to brighten rooms and then try to take daily breaks and head outside. Favorite outings include hikes to The Rock and walks down Main Street (Richardson’s is a sweet destination or Williams Sugar House when it’s open in February!) Other winter activities they might want to try are yoga, ice-skating, and paddle tennis. There are two paddle courts located behind the swimming pool. It is an easy game to learn and play throughout the winter.
Enjoy the Snow – Sledding, snowball fights and, for the more adventurous, skiing and snowshoeing are activities to look forward to during and after a snow storm. Students’ favorite sledding hills include behind the DA hockey rink and at Eaglebrook School. It is easy to borrow a sled from a faculty dorm parent, or even use spare cardboard (students are resourceful!). Deerfield organizes ski trips on winter weekends to a variety of mountains near school.
Socialize – Getting together with friends is vital during winter months. Popular winter gatherings include preparing a fun meal or feed with a dorm parent, going to a restaurant or movie in town or attending a school social. Students look forward to sharing cookies and cocoa in the Main School Building on winter Fridays. They also welcome a more relaxed winter dinner schedule with walk-through dinners on week-day nights during the winter term. With more freedom and flexibility in choosing dinner seating, students have additional opportunities to get to know new friends.
Cheer on Big Green Teams – The Deerfield spirit burns especially bright in the winter and cheering for classmates at the rink, pool, or squash courts is a wonderful way to fill weekend days and nights.
Eat and Sleep Well – A balanced diet and good sleep habits are helpful to maintain energy levels in the winter. Encourage your children to have healthy eating habits throughout the winter term. The Dining Hall emphasizes healthy foods, so we should encourage our kids to take full advantage. Sleep should be at the top of every student’s priority list and they should strive for the eight hours recommended.
Visit the Health Center (when needed) – If a student feels “under the weather,” he or she should go to the Health Center. The nurses and doctors on staff there are very capable and experienced and sensitive to the needs of students and help them to stay calm about missing work.
Help Brighten Their Winter Days – Parents can encourage students to make the most of the season, recognizing that it can be a stressful time. Check in periodically and consider sending a special care package or note from home. Pack up a favorite treat, special items from home and/or newspaper clippings with hometown news and send it off to Deerfield. Let your child know you were thinking of them on a cold, winter day!
If you sense that your child is struggling with the season, encourage him or her to talk with someone. Advisors, hall residents, and teachers are all available to lend an ear or words of encouragement.
We can’t stop winter, but we can help our children be prepared to see the positive side of the season and have the tools to brighten their outlook. Before we know it, Spring Break and warmer April days will be here!