It’s another early January morning, and you begrudgingly get out of bed feeling cold and seeing nothing but darkness outside. You definitely don’t want to go to school let alone stay after to finish a group project. The next time you’ll be back in your room around 5:00 it’ll be dark again, just in time for you to study for tomorrow’s Chemistry test. Most of the joy and calm of the holiday break is gone, too, along with any novelty that the new school year had a few months ago. Now it’s just about surviving the next few months. Or is it? Can it be possible to stay motivated, even thrive, in the winter without falling into a slump? Yes! Keep reading for some helpful tips to beat the winter blues.
Take it One Step at a Time
It’s so easy at the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year to set lofty goals and dream of ambitious achievements. However, it’s equally easy to get discouraged and distracted when faced with the day to day grind of school and the gloom of winter’s short days and cold temperatures. The solution to staying motivated and productive is to go easy on yourself and do things one step, or one small, achievable goal at a time.
If you have a big Chemistry test coming up, don’t cram all in one night. Be proactive and practical by breaking up your study time into a different topic each day for a week. If you’re not in the mood for homework because you had a particularly rough day—you had to drive to school in the snow and fell asleep in class still suffering from the lingering effects of a cold—then, to start, try to pick an assignment to do from a class you like or an assignment that isn’t too difficult, and it’ll give you the confidence and momentum to keep going.
Think of it this way: how do you build a snowman? You do it one snowball at a time.
Style Your Way to Success
By now you’ve probably noticed that what your surroundings are like and what you dress like can have an effect on your mood and motivation. Knowing that, it makes sense that to give yourself a much needed boost you should try giving yourself and your room a winter makeover.
Let’s start with your room. The two things that will have the most impact are a clean room and a cheerful room. As your winter break winds down toward the end of December, and you still have the “New Year, New You” mentality, set aside a day to clean and organize your room and get rid of anything you don’t use anymore and tidy up spaces that have been neglected. When that’s done, you can decorate. If there is art or photos that make you happy, put them on display. If you can add a string of lights or a dash of vibrant color somewhere for some extra sparkle, try that too. Make it a place that you’ll be happy to be in and work in.
Okay, now let’s focus on you. Although it’s tempting to go for super cozy clothes when you know you’ll be smothered by bulky winter coats or spending most of your time in the monochrome tones of a winter’s day, you’d be surprised how much dressing up a bit more can make you feel less like you’re in bed and more like you’re in the zone.
Get Out and Get Moving
Don’t get too comfortable in your room, though, because another great way to generate the energy and positive attitude you need to keep up with your schoolwork is to spend time outside and to get some exercise. I know. I know. You’re probably thinking it’s too cold outside to do much of anything, and you’re not wrong, but to do nothing would mean missing out on some amazing motivation benefits.
Exercise, even a little of it, has been shown to not only sharpen the mind, but to also release your body’s natural antidepressants: dopamine and endorphins. For best results, try to get in some physical activity close to when you’re going to do your homework or study. The type of exercise and where you do it isn’t as important as just doing it. Anything from a 10-minute dance party for one in your room, some yoga, or a complete workout at the gym can work wonders this winter. Just going outside for a bundled up stroll around the block to escape the enclosed space and dry heat of indoors for a dose of fresh air and open sky can be invigorating. So, get going!
Whether you’re anticipating a fun night with friends or keeping your future college and career goals in mind, it’s important to have things to look forward to that will refresh your spirit and give your work meaning.
You are not a machine, and the daily rigors of schoolwork require something special to break up the monotony and give you something that offers a light at the end of the tunnel. Make time to get a hot drink while catching up with friends or plan a watch party for a movie or TV show you’ve been wanting to see. If you can’t make something with friends work, then treat yourself to an experience that’ll brighten your day, week, or month.
Last, but not least, one of the best ways to remain motivated in wintertime (or anytime) is to remind yourself why you’re working so hard in the first place. Every aced quiz, every productive club meeting, and every focused test prep tutoring session is in the service of a lifestyle and an identity that you hope is in your future and that a good college and a good job can help secure.
How A+ Can Help
If the tips above aren’t enough, or if you feel you need extra help, then A+ is here for you. Our Executive Function coaches will help you set goals and achieve them with assessments and activities for motivation, organization, focus, and other useful skills. For help with individual classes, our academic tutors will support you as you complete assignments and study for tests. Having someone who understands the challenges that students face anytime of year, but especially the winter months, and who can offer you a friendly face as well as expertise could be just what you need to stay motivated and on track during this difficult and dreary season.
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you want to find out more about our services, our Client Service Director, Joelle Faucette, can be reached at 215-886-9188.