Frigid mornings. Icy windshields. Wet socks. Dark afternoons. We are in the throes of winter and the assignments are starting to roll in. Our break seemed too short and personally, I’m still tired from fall finals. There are ways, however, to boost your mood and your motivation levels throughout the Winter semester. While there will certainly be challenges, a positive attitude can help you make it through the rough spots. Here are some tips to stay positive.
- Stay active! It’s so easy to go home after a long day at work and school, pull on sweats, crawl under the sheets, and watch Lord of the Rings. Take time to go on a walk, stop by the gym, or do some yoga before bed. The cold weather should not deter you from outdoor activity. The outdoors can be quite beautiful in the winter; this a chance to experience it in a new way.
- Find the seasonal silver lining. While it might seem cathartic to continually run through the list of winter’s negative characteristics, there are lots of fun seasonal things to do. Both Ann Arbor and Detroit have ice-skating rinks and hills for sledding.
- Reconnect with friends. The winter months can be isolating (it’s just so hard to go outside!). Don’t forget to have fun and stay relatively social.
- Reconnect with yourself. Warmer months can lead to a rush of activity as you go from parks in the spring to beaches in the summer and apple orchards in the fall. While winter has seasonal activities (see #3), it can be nice to slow down and use nature’s hibernation as a time to reflect and relax. Take time to journal, drink tea, or listen to music you love.
- Organize your home and work space. Staying inside during the summer to clean out your closet is not something most people want to engage in. The winter, however, is the perfect to get organized and complete those projects you keep putting off. This will help you create a space that you don’t mind spending time in during the colder months.
- Continue to be healthy. You can really accumulate a lot of candy and chocolate during the holiday season (which can disappear in a single Always Sunny in Philadelphia bing session). Make sure to stick to your usual, healthy, eating habits to avoid feeling sluggish and tired.
- Find an new hobby. More time indoors means you have time to learn to knit or edit your pictures using Photoshop.
If you ever feel that your negative emotions are stopping you from living the life you want to live, you can talk to someone for free at EMU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Students can talk with a counselor twelve times a year. If you would rather see someone off campus, you can go to Corner Health in downtown Ypsilanti.
Finally, read this poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley to develop an even greater appreciation for the beauty of winter.