by Hakim bin Luqman

Winter has come, and even in Nice where it’s relatively sunny and warm, the temperature dips to single digits. The days are short and the nights are long – dekat selatan ni pukul 5 hari dah nak malam. It’s no wonder everyone seems a bit down – even the locals pun démotivéjuga.  Now for us Malaysians, having lived all our lives on the equator, it’s a whole new experience and let’s face it – l’hiver, c’est dur.

Winter depression is a real thing and it’s so miserable that psychiatrists call it SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. Symptoms include lack of energy, difficulty waking up in the morning, oversleeping and craving for carbohydrates (for me it’s chocolates and rice) which leads to weight gain. It also causes difficulty concentrating and an overall lousy mood.

Tak lama lagi, kelas akan bermula semula; kalau nak bangun pagi pun payah, kalau asyik malas dan bad mood je, susahlah. So here are some suggestions for getting through this difficult time of year:

1.        Keep warm

This one’s quite obvious, but then again, it’s not something that we’re accustomed to (kat Malaysia kan panas, kita pun asyik nak cari air-cond je). Here are a few Wiki-how articles that give ideas on how to stay warm in winter:

bajuHere are the main points from this article:

  1. Check the weather – regarde la météo! (This is something I still have to get used to – I hate getting caught in the rain unprepared!)
  2. Dress appropriately (much easier to do if you check the weather first!) The link above gives tips about what to wear: layers of clothes including thermal underwear, socks, sweaters, jackets, scarves, gloves, well-insulated shoes – you get the idea.


I highly recommend reading this article because as we all know, some of the cités universitaires’ heating systems are only there to fill up our already tiny living space without hardly giving any warmth. By the way, I especially recommend method 5 of part 2 of the article 😉

I’ll just include this just in case 😉

I also recommend investing in a hair dryer. Even if your hair isn’t as long as mine, you’ll be happy to have a hair dryer handy for those especially cold days. A good, warm blanket and quilt is also a worthwhile investment. Here’s an extra tip, if you’re feeling chilly: lay the blanket out on your bed and blast some warm air under it using the hair dryer, then get under it and wrap yourself up nice and toasty 😀

2.        Eat well

Eating well is important for two reasons: one, eating the right foods will keep you energized and feeling in a good mood; and two, eat right and you might just make it through winter without packing on extra pounds.

Nothing like a hot soup to keep you warm on a cold day

Cook and eat warm foods and drinks. (If you’re cooking in your room, it also helps warm it up – so that’s an added bonus). I also think that winter’s a great time to enjoy some spicy Malaysian dishes like assam laksa and ayam masak lemak cili padi. Mmm, just thinking about these yummy hot foods makes me feel all warm and nice.

3.        Stay active and keep busy

Exercising is always a good idea, and just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we have to go into hibernation. Moving around keeps us warm too. Besides that, keeping ourselves busy with projects and hobbies will help keep our sanity, and make the winter go by faster. Sebenarnya dengan kerja sekolah yg berlambak pun dah cukup sibuk, jadi pandai-pandailah nak urus masa dan stress.

4.        Get enough sleep

Like I said above, most of us studying in France are quite busy, dengan controle continu, devoirs maison, DS, compte rendu de TP, preparation de TD dan sebagainya, tak hairanlah kita tak cukup tidur. But in the winter, we have to be extra careful to get enough sleep – and by that I mean go to bed early enough to get 7 hours of sleep and wake up in time for class. I know it’s difficult to get up and out of your comfortable bed in the cold mornings, but if you’ve had a good sleep, it’s much easier.

Try not to oversleep either, even on the weekends. If you get enough sleep regularly, you can wake up not-too-late on weekends and do something fun, like go outside. Which brings me to my next point…

5.        Go outside and get some sun

Now that it’s winter, we find ourselves getting up before the sun rises, going to school in the dark and then by the time we head back, the sun’s already down! Sedih betul bila tak jumpa matahari. That’s why it’s a good idea to get out when the sun’s out. If you’re just too busy to go out, at least work near a window with sunlight shining through.

Also, if you find yourself getting tired very early in the evening (feeling sleepy by 7 pm for example), it might be worthwhile to invest in a good study lamp, or to replace the light bulbs in your room with brighter ones. Plants aren’t the only things that need light, we do to!

6.        Visit friends, relax, and stay positive

This last point is really important as well, and I just can’t stress enough that seeing your friends is crucial! This is especially so if you’re living alone. Visit your friends and stay warm together just by being in the same room (humans are a source of heat). Plus, it’s always nicer to enjoy the tasty ayam masak lemak with friends 🙂

Being with friends who are also going through the cold winter with you will help you cope better, and make everything more bearable.

There you go, here’s hoping we’ll all get through this winter as happily as possible. Happy New Year, and all the best to everyone!

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