Conquering the winter blues: four tips for graduate students
By Graduate Ambassador Elizabeth Crenshaw, a master's student in social work and public health
As the winter season unfolds, many graduate students find themselves grappling with the notorious 'winter blues.' The combination of shorter days, colder temperatures, and the demands of academic life pose a challenge to maintaining a positive mindset. However, fear not! Here are a few tips to assist you in overcoming the winter blues and staying at the top of your game.
Embrace natural light
Winter often brings darker days, but exposure to natural light can significantly improve mood and energy levels. Whenever possible, take breaks outdoors, position your study space near a window, or invest in a light therapy lamp to mimic natural sunlight. Soak in those precious rays to lift your spirits and enhance your productivity.
Establish a routine
Winter blues thrive on chaos and lack of structure. Combat this by establishing a consistent daily routine. Set clear work hours, make time for breaks, and create a well-defined study schedule. A routine helps create a sense of stability and control, crucial for navigating the challenges of graduate life during the winter months. Check out the Student Success Workshops for some additional guidance in establishing a routine.
Make your health a priority. Regular exercise is a powerful weapon against the winter blues. Physical activity releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, and helps combat the lethargy that often accompanies colder weather. Head to the gym or visit the Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center for some quick cardio or hit the weights. If you are looking for group activities, explore the plethora of online or in-person group fitness classes offered, or register for intramural or club sports leagues. Incorporating exercise into your routine can make a significant difference in your mood and overall well-being, so make sure you schedule some time each week.
Related: How to succeed in graduate school
Connect with peers
Isolation can contribute to the winter blues, especially for graduate students immersed in research and studies. Combat loneliness by staying connected with your peers. Schedule study sessions, participate in campus activities, or meet up at one of your local eateries. Social interaction can provide much-needed support and camaraderie.
Navigating the winter blues as a graduate student requires a proactive approach and a commitment to self-care. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can stay motivated and emerge from the winter season with a positive outlook on your academic journey. Remember, spring is just around the corner, bringing with it renewed energy and opportunities for growth. Stay focused, keep connected, and conquer those winter blues!