• Talia Basma

Motivating Yourself in the Winter Weather

There is a universal belief that the winter season affects our mood (for the worse). Years ago, scientists found out about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which holds that humans can get depressed due to seasonal changes. Usually, fall and winter are to blame for the blues. As research into seasonal effects continues, some sciences question whether SAD is really an official diagnosis. Nevertheless, one thing seems clear: When winter comes, the gloom of the clouds tends to make us feel low — no matter what the reason. Here are some ways to keep that fall motivation going even through the winter weather.

Listen to some happy music

As I walk in solemn weather, my favorite thing to do is play slow songs and pretend I’m in a music video. But, as it turns out, this only increases our anxiety and neuroticism. If we want to listen to music, it’s best to stick with upbeat tunes, since happier music increases our motivation and keeps us positive.

Sleep consistently

If there is one thing scientists can agree on, it’s the negative effects of sleep deprivation, which include sluggishness and laziness. Don’t let the light outside (or lack of it) mess up your sleep schedule. No matter when the sun comes up and goes down, if your class is at 8 a.m. it will remain at 8 a.m. It’s easy to lose track of time as soon as night falls, so set a few alarms. Plan to do some homework before your alarm for dinner goes off, and then get some more work done before another alarm sounds for going to bed. It may sound hard, but after doing it several weeks in a row, the motivation will come naturally.

Stay healthy

Let’s face it, many students hate working out, but spending about 30 minutes at the gym every other day is a great way to keep your body and mind awake — even as the scarce light tries to lull you to your laptop and bed. Not only does it release endorphins and serotonin but exercise also provides a host of other health benefits, including sharpening your focus and even changing the structure of your DNA to help prevent diabetes.

Besides working out, make sure to keep to a healthy diet. As we study and stress out, carbohydrates may tempt us with their quick sugar fix, but they actually slow us down and leave us feeling worse. Instead, try eating omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein — flax seeds, walnuts, kale and spinach, and salmon are just a few possible choices. If you find yourself craving something sweet, opt for berries over candy bars

Make time for friends

After scheduling some study time, allow some time for hanging out with pals. Studies show that your friends actually make you happier and healthier. Being with those you love can reduce stress, help you feel more capable of overcoming challenges, and (unsurprisingly) improve your well-being as a whole. Having a social life outside of school and work gives you motivation to get up and out in the morning.

At the end of the day, no one enjoys running across campus as it pours with rain or their fingers freeze — yet there is something to appreciate about each season. Everyone can see the joys of summer, but some may struggle to see the beauty of winter as they rush from class to class. When you find yourself cursing the weather, try to take a step back and appreciate the scenery. Winter will, eventually, come to an end.

Originally posted on Course Hero February 22nd, 2018

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