Our suggestions for combating the winter slump

(Graphic by HN Hoffmann/Student Life)

The end of daylight savings time ushers in some dark and cold months. Scene writers put together a list of things that improve their mood when the weather is getting them down.

Being kind to ourselves

It’s really easy to hit winter, look back on the year and feel a little bit underwhelmed. In the face of shorter days, the incredible things you did over the year become a dull background to the fleeting realization of time and how far you are from perfection. It sucks, but it’s okay. Trying to ‘fix’ what you did by voluntarily dwelling in what you didn’t is the kind of thing you’ll end up criticizing yourself for next year. You deserve to give yourself a break no matter how it seems the year has gone. 

When you feel like you can hardly bring yourself to shower, just put on some new clothes. If leaving your room to get food is ostensibly the least appealing activity you could possibly imagine, that’s okay too. Have a granola bar ready in your room instead. Granola bars are awesome! Granola bars are the middle ground. Perfection is exhausting, but doing nothing at all is just as discouraging. Find your granola bar for the day, your acceptable middle ground that gives you the break you deserve.

— Lawrence Hapeman, Contributing Writer

Comfort food for the rough weather

As a lover of good food, I often find that the right dish can improve any circumstance. When the winter blues get the best of me, I like to prepare dishes that both warm me up and take me back to my childhood. There’s nothing that will turn around a dreary winter day quite like a comforting bowl of soup or chili! Plus, these are dishes that I can prepare in the morning and let simmer throughout the afternoon while I work. This motivates me to get everything done and makes for a lovely environment to study in. It’s also easy to get friends to come over and study with you when tasty food awaits at the end! When I am pressed for time or need a quick pick-me-up in the depths of a blizzard, I go back to old childhood favorites like SpaghettiOs, tomato soup or mac n’ cheese. Pair them with a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of hot cocoa, and it is sure to improve your mood! For me, I think these dishes help me find joy in the changing of the seasons. Good weather comes and goes, but soup is forever. 

— Lydia McKelvie, Staff Writer

Finding a sense of accomplishment in to-do-lists

As it gets darker earlier and temperatures drop, the urge to sleep in, watch movies and not do school work increases. I find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to accomplish even small tasks as the semester goes on and nights get longer. But one thing does keep me in check: lists.

Planning out your day is a great way to not be caught off guard by an extra reading or a meeting that was set weeks ago. Whether your list is 5 items or 15, it will always feel rewarding to cross something off. 

Sure, it’s a little ironic to be reading a list of ways to battle winter fatigue and see lists themselves as a suggestion, but they really do help. I’m not talking about 3-item lists where one task is an essay and the next is a project. Really break down the little things, because there is no better feeling than drawing a line through a completed task. 

By breaking down the larger items, they become less daunting. It’s hard to gear up for a huge assignment, but being able to check off “Write Introduction” or “Put Together a Works Cited Page” while working on the larger task of “Write Essay” allows even the small steps to feel like accomplishments. 

— Alice Gottesman, Contributing Writer

Staying active in the cold

It seems as if once the temperature outside begins to drop, students begin to trade in their running shoes and frisbees for snow boots and hot chocolates. With the increasingly early sunsets and bone chilling weather, the motivation and drive to stay active seems almost impossible to maintain alongside schoolwork and a social life.

However, there are some simple and easy cardio and fitness routines that you can fit into your schedule even amidst the winter storms. Last year, during a very blizzardy St. Louis week, I discovered that the parking garage next to Hitzeman is a great open area with a covering to get a workout in. With a jump rope in hand, an empty garage is marvelous to get in some quick sets of intense cardio. In addition, if incline is your go to in the gym, the windy loops up and down the floors are a great alternative! 

Alternatively, staying indoors and doing a fun high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout with your suitemates in the common room is another way to take a break from studying and get some stress out of your body. HIIT workouts can be found on YouTube or other websites, ranging from beginner to intense, thirty minutes to two hours — whatever works for your schedule! In the end, the seasonal changes in St. Louis as we transition from fall to winter can’t stop us from being active and treating our bodies right! 

— Annabel Shen, Contributing Writer

Skating in a winter wonderland

As the days become shorter and the weather gets cooler, many start to feel a decline in their mental health and wellbeing. Whether you are trying to positively influence your mental health or just want to find ways to meaningfully spend your time, ice skating is a great activity and something that anyone can participate in, regardless of skill level. 

Though it may seem mundane, going around a rink in circles with your friends (or alone, if you just want to clear your head) and occasionally tripping and falling is an incredibly entertaining activity (and may make you daydream about becoming a figure skater — don’t worry, though, no one at the rink will expect you to start jumping triple Salchows right off the bat). Many people at the rink are beginners, so there is no shame in occasionally face-planting in the rigid ice, and the skaters around you will no doubt lend you a hand if your derriere hits the ice just a little too hard and you need help getting up. 

There are many ice rinks around St. Louis, and if you’re looking for a place near campus, the outdoor Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park is a great option. It opens on Nov. 19. During the holidays, trees around the rink will be strung with lights so that you can enjoy a nice, glittering view while gliding across the ice. If you prefer indoor rinks or want to try a different location, St. Louis has several other places to skate, including the Brentwood Ice Arena and the Kennedy Recreation Complex. 

Among the many options, you’re sure to find a place where you can have fun with your friends or decompress after a long week of classes. Whether you’re feeling down, want to try something new (especially if you’re from an area that gets little to no snow or doesn’t have ice rinks) or you just want to have some fun, skating is a great option. And I encourage you to watch some videos of Yuna Kim’s performances to inspire yourself before heading into the rink. 

— Cathay Poulsen, Contributing Writer

Read more seasonal suggestions:

Flavors of fall: Our recommendations for fun and festive feasts with friends

Bergson’s best: Rating the cafe’s fall drinks

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