Lo and behold, it’s that time of the quarter again. Midterms are beginning to morph into finals; that to-do list seems to be tripling instead of shrinking; the end is still nowhere in sight. And because exams (and job applications and campus activities and whatever else you have going on) couldn’t possibly be enough, the winter blues have crept right through your window and decided to kick back and stay for a while.
Trust me when I say I understand. Nothing would make me happier than clicking send on that final obligation and kicking back on a beach, piña colada in hand. Unfortunately, that daydream lingers about a good month away and I’ve realized that giving my clock the stink eye isn’t going to help. Instead, take the sage wisdom of a fellow fighter against the winter doldrums – the battle looks tough, but there’s no need to fall into complete despair just yet.
1) Homework at your desk definitely feels repetitive at this point – how many times have you stared at that photo collage plastered against your wall instead of doing work? As for the library, well, I have a feeling those hallowed stacks have become more familiar than your dorm at this point. My most-loved solution would be to brave the weather and try a new locale. A new location jolts the senses better than that fifth espresso shot, plus being out in public might provide that much-needed motivation to dress up past sweats (and who doesn’t feel more energized when they’re looking nice?). Though more renowned as a night hang out, Kafein during the day is delightfully peaceful, with plenty of open tables and music that doesn’t scream into your ears. Plus, a milkshake at the end of that last paper sounds pretty perfect.
2) I know this next recommendation may sound counterproductive, but hear me out. Spring may be approaching fast, but SPAC has lost all of its allure in between papers and exams – you’re beginning to lose all hope of shedding a few pounds before spring break. I know it’s cold outside, but taking a walk might actually be the perfect idea. Winter doesn’t have to be all bitter thoughts and artificial lights – there was a point in time you even thought it was pretty (I know I did). Bundling up for a late afternoon walk will get the blood flowing again, and there’s nothing like focusing on a gorgeous skyline to take stress levels down a notch.
3) There comes a point every quarter where I look at the food my sorority house offers, and I just crave something else. Anything else, really, so long as it is food I haven’t eaten in my recent history. And as tempting as it is to continue my journey through every single restaurant Evanston offers, I doubt my bank account would approve. So I propose a happy medium – head down to Whole Foods, Jewel-Osco, or even one of the local coffee shops (we have plenty if you haven’t noticed). I have a tin of Ginger Peach tea that I break out whenever I’m feeling particularly sick of my everyday snacks. Your treat can be a tempting chocolate bar, or even a particularly exotic piece of fruit. The point is to engage your palette without engaging your dwindling bank account. Therefore, every time you feel fed up, eat (or drink) up instead – it’s the small things that make a difference.
If you’ve been paying attention, most of my advice carries a common theme. So much of winter quarter melancholy, I’ve decided, comes from being stuck in a rut. There’s too much work, way too much stress, and not quite enough motivation to really relax and change things up (courtesy of the winter winds). But do yourself a favor and break the habit – life isn’t all deadlines and nasty chills.