The winter blues is common during this time of year. It’s cold outside, so of course we don’t want to leave our safe and warm corner of campus without good reason. Most of our energy is being sapped from the ever-increasing list of due dates on our calendars. We look outside after our 4 o’ clock class and notice it’s already getting dark outside. We walk through the icy sludge after a mind-draining class and think, “Eh, I’ll go to the gym later.”
1. Take breaks.
I know what you’re thinking. “I’m already feeling bad for having no energy, and you’re telling me to take a break?!” Yep. The thing is, the more you take breaks, the more energy you will have for other tasks. If you’re pounding the books hours at a time, no wonder you have no motivation to do anything else!
Stop and breathe. Sometimes you need to step back from the 75 pages of reading you’re doing and watch a funny episode of The Office on Netflix. Those 75 pages will feel lighter after you’ve laughed your heart out for a good half-hour.
Sweat out the stress. Even just 15 minutes will make a difference. And you don’t even have to leave the room. Hop on YouTube and find an 8 minute ab workout or do some squats and lunges. Light stretching on the floor can also release some tension.
After working out, you will feel a burst of energy and focus that will help you face the next task ahead of you. Trust me. You’ll feel good afterwards. (And less guilty about that McDouble you just ate.)
3. Find a show to watch weekly.
It is A-Okay to carve out some time weekly to watch your favorite show. Having something to look forward to every week will add a little brightness to the “same old same old” day of classes and meetings.
The Bachelor on Mondays, Modern Family on Wednesdays, and SNL on Saturdays are shows I look forward to weekly, and taking that hour to temporarily forget about the next task makes it easier for me to surge on.
4. Find study buddies.
If you feel like you’re spending all of your time studying this semester, you might as well do it with your friends. Sometimes this can be distracting, but if you make flash cards or have your study guide filled out, you can quiz each other.
College is about community, and using that community to learn. Studying does not mean you have to be locked in your room all the time. And sometimes having your friend quietly studying next to you can make your test tomorrow seem not all the bad. You’re not alone. We’re all working away.
5. Download some new music.
Music refreshes the soul and renews the mind. A new album lightly playing in the background while working on homework can soothe the stress and ease the worry, especially if it’s uplifting. It breaks up the mundane and gives you a fresh perspective.
Just because you’re miles away from home or you feel like you’ve been stuck in your room all week doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your friends and family. Even keeping a texting conversation going with your mom or best friends throughout the day can make you feel close.
Getting on Facebook to see what your friends back home are up to can help you still feel plugged in. Sending letters back and forth, taking an hour on the phone to catch up, or Facetiming and Skyping your significant other can help you exhale for a bit too.
I can’t promise you that it will stop being so cold outside or that the sun will stay out longer, but if you do some of these things, maybe you can still smile through the blues anyway.
* Creative Commons Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/27695964@N03/4155620502/in/photolist-7kdDcm-7opuV5-7otcw3-7pfQ3a-7uME11-7vAL1i-7vYe1s-e2Wu7e-j6B7eU-iK1YRz-jnHUzU-jBD3CU-aZsDJP-dGnysZ-dHuDb3-dzEaGr-dSsfVQ-7ymdQG-e2Hp9P-987QRF-dL4HbS-iPFC5T-aSSVwZ-iJCJKn-iJEin5-iJB79F-iJCgmA-iJBUqt-iJCR7x-jFQ4HT-iJz4tH-iJACKH-iJBnHM-iJCt3T-iJADG3-dMn6LM-dMn6Eg-dMn6FD-dMn6KK-98eQQn-dMn6JH-aSSVX4-a1Xvr3-iuJHAF-93owQD-aVnnBD-dxkJkw-8XUfDA-aSSVs8-8X6cVh-8X6dqA