Healthy Body

“looks like rain, ted” – how to survive an irish winter

Father Dougal's one-line weather forecasts are as well-known to the average Irish student as the windy downpours that start to up the ante around November every year. We're all well used to the annual Irish whine that escalates as the temperature drops: the complaints about the rain, the cold, the Christmas shopping, and the lack of things to do.

But, this year, these five tips should ensure that your winter is less drowned-rat and more hot-chocolate and your reindeer onesie. After all, the nights may be getting darker but there's no need for life to get bleaker too.

Bring a brolly

It may not look like rain. The sky may be clear, Evelyn Cusack may promise a “crisp, cool” day, but if you've lived in Ireland longer than a week you know as well as I do how much of a cruel joke that can be.

There's nothing worse than sitting through lectures in wet socks, so make sure you have a stash of umbrellas in your bags and around your house. Don't make the mistake of believing Met Éireann – you’d swear they make it all up on the spot.

Let the sunshine in!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has a tendency to rear its head right around now – the one time you want to be happily fighting over who gets the last mince pie. To reduce your chances of suffering a bout of depression, make sure you're getting as much vitamin D as you can. It might be difficult with the sun playing peek-a-boo in between showers, but try and spend at least some time outside each day, or at least open your curtains. And if you do start to feel the symptoms, make sure you seek help as soon as you can.

So many wintery activities

Getting in the spirit of the season can make even all the rain look fun. I-Skate in the RDS opens mid-November. Grab a few friends and head down for the kind of entertainment that's improved by the cold. Some chocolate fondue afterwards is, of course, a rule.

And if we're lucky enough to get snow this year – fingers crossed – make the most of it by spending the day in the park. We might have left or be leaving our teens, but none of us are too sophisticated for a proper, old-fashioned snowman.

Start your Christmas shopping early

Don't leave it to the last minute on Christmas Eve. Apart from hating yourself, every retail assistant will hate you too. And guaranteed if you're searching for your mam's present in the 10 minutes before Brown Thomas closes you're going to end up buying her something both you and your wallet will regret it.

Don't forget, too, that as a student you have the perfect excuse not to spend a lot of money on a lot of presents. Family members may not appreciate your attempt at a homemade gift, but at least your cash-strapped status means they can't complain.

Wrap up warm

Your winter coat may be more Macklemore than Miranda Kerr, but there's nothing worse than wondering if you'll lose a hand to frostbite before you can flag a taxi down outside dTwo. The evenings are getting colder now, and your t-shirt or bodycon dress won't do much for you when it starts to lash rain. Split the cost on putting stuff in the cloakroom with friends by throwing it all in the one bag, and I promise you won't regret it. After all, when somebody suggests a McDonald's trip later that night, you don't want to be the freezing person trying to weasel a jacket off of a more forward-thinking friend.

Got any tips of your own? Let us know!