New Year, New Purposes
Although we all cherish waking up to crisp, white blankets of snow, the winter also means freezing temperatures, dissipating sunlight and bleak skies. With a lack of sunlight in the midst of the longest trimester, it is easy to enter a winter slump. Finding purpose and motivation when holiday festivities have ended remains a difficult challenge. My drawing this month pictures a girl glued to her bed barely making it on a Zoom call, her daily items strewn across her bed. The light pink and purple coloring surrounding the tired girl resembles the fog that consistently follows students stuck with winter blues. I believe that right now, a large portion of the student body and faculty can relate to her as we kick off the new year.
To regain our drive and spirits during this time period, I’ve come up with some strategies that can promote productivity and purpose. Meditation is one way to take a step back from our busy schedules and focus on the present. Even a few minutes a day can eliminate negative self-talk and the pressures we put on ourselves. Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm and Oak are just a few of the many apps that provide free, guided meditations to add to your everyday routine. Some tips for beginners in meditation are to sit for a few minutes, set a timer, follow your breath and recognize when your mind begins to wander.
Another way to find motivation in the winter is by working out. Physical exercise can boost your energy, immune system and overall mood as well as support your sleep schedule. These benefits can be especially important when fighting the winter fatigue. If you want to start with smaller, less time-intensive workouts, even a short walk can aid in clearing your mind.
An additional strategy for calming your mind is writing in a gratitude journal. You can simply jot down good news, events and positives that occurred that day on your phone or in an actual physical journal. Consistent appreciation for the little things for which you are grateful can strengthen your mindset when there are obstacles. Journaling builds both awareness and perspective while forming resiliency. Popular gratitude apps include Gratitude Journal Affirmations, 365 Gratitude Journal and I am- Daily Affirmations. You can even order pre-made digital and online gratitude journals on websites such as Etsy.
Lastly, another way to spark productivity is by creating lists. To-do lists allow you to figure out the exact tasks that need completing and their level of importance. When writing a to-do list, you can order tasks and even assign due dates to maximize your efficiency. Sometimes just writing out what needs to be done can decrease your stress levels and provide an organizational key for the day.
I hope that some of the strategies I referenced can be utilized by everyone in order to get through this winter and continue to navigate the school year. Remember that we are all in this together and continue to support your classmates because positivity is contagious.