Beating the winter blues: 3 practical ways to stay on top of your to-do list this semester

Story by Amy Turner, Staff writer

Illustration courtesy of Autumn Brown

The temperature is hovering around 30 degrees and the sun seems to have disappeared. There are rumors of snow while you are left longing for the days of mistletoe and family curled up by the fire. Along with the decrease in temperatures comes the drastic decrease in motivation. Here are some quick tips to help you stay motivated during the dreary start of the spring semester.

Starting the Morning Off Right:

Since getting out of bed can be the toughest part of the day, fight off the spring semester blues by choosing not to use the snooze button. When the alarm rings, get up and actually make the bed. This will prevent you from curling back up after feeling the early morning cold and you will have achieved the first item on your morning checklist.

Listen to some upbeat music while getting ready.  The fun music will help to not only wake you up, but lift your early morning blues. Don’t be afraid to dance in the privacy of your room. This will help to increase your mood and get some blood flowing.

If you’re a coffee drinker, have everything prepared the night before so in the morning you can press a button and instantly have coffee brewing. This will not only save time but also help soften the blow of the first few early mornings.

Grab breakfast. Most students choose to forego the meal which is often valued as the most important of the day. Breakfast can help increase energy, motivation and even focus. To maximize the good feelings, grab some fruit. It will add some natural sweetness and vitamins as cold and flu season runs rampant across campus.  

Going to Classes:

Be prepared. Check the weather and bundle up appropriately for the frigid temperatures of the winter season. Sweaters and fun socks can add color and personality to any look.

Get organized before class and arrive a few minutes early. This will allow you to catch your breath and get ready before the  professor begins class which will increase focus and reduce stress. Starting off the semester late can act as a precedent for you to have a lazier semester.

Stay on track during courses by maintaining a steady study routine. If you struggle with this, try to find a new place to study for a change in environment. A group study setting can be super helpful as long as you focus on staying on task.

Use a planner. This will help you stay organized and remember deadlines. Update your planner with homework assignments, projects, personal events, and test dates. Once an assignment is finished, cross off the assignment to keep track of your progress.

Keeping Balance:

Once you have established a routine and settled back into life at the university, it is important to remember to maintain balance. Make time to hangout with friends, spend time trying new hobbies or simply enjoy old favorites. As the weather begins to grow warmer, spend time soaking in the sun and finding ways to be active.

Don’t forget to eat meals, even when you are crushed by deadlines and business. Keeping snack foods in your dorm can help while working on assignments. Having both good grades and a social life shouldn’t mean sacrificing personal health and well being.

If you’re not feeling well, the university has Health Services available to students and faculty. They are located on the ground floor of Wells Hall right beside Faculty Hall. Their student hours are 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every weekday as well as 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday but Wednesday.

In addition to Health Services, the university offers counseling services free of charge to all students. The office is located in the middle of the ground floor in Oakley Applied Sciences building.  They are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Fridays as long as campus is open. For emergency situations a counselor is on call daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information visit the Murray State website or contact msu.counselingcenter@murraystate.edu.