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How to thrive in college during the gloomy winter season

The winter season can be a “blah” time for many people. The days are shorter, the sunlight is sparse, and the weather is cold and dreary, which can make it hard to stay motivated in class and engaged with friends.

But there are some things you can do to combat the winter blues. Coaches with IUPUI Health and Wellness Promotion shared these tips to refocus and take care of yourself.

Try a new study method

Studying and classwork can feel repetitive and mundane. To beat procrastination and improve your focus, find a new way to study.

One method to consider is called the Pomodoro Technique. It uses alternating focus sessions and frequent short breaks to help you maintain concentration and productivity.

Here’s how it works. First, you pick a task and then set a timer for 25 minutes. Work on that task until that time is up, and then take a five-minute break. If you are studying on your laptop, use this time to give your eyes a break from the screen and grab some coffee, stretch or take a walk.

Once your break time is up, select another task and set your 25-minute timer again. After completing four 25-minute work sessions with breaks, you earn a long 15- to 30-minute break.

The Bepko Learning Center also has more great study techniques and resources available on its website.

Get moving

Regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins and other brain chemicals that can improve your mood and sense of well-being. Whether you’re interested in working out in a gym or playing intramural sports, IUPUI has several options through Campus Recreation. Weekly Zumba and yoga classes are also available.

Just taking a walk is helpful, too. You can get some fresh air on the Canal Walk near campus or on various trails and hiking spots across Indianapolis.

Make self and mental health a priority

It’s important to check in with yourself and find ways to relax and reduce anxiety. IUPUI CAPS holds mindfulness meditation Zoom sessions to help calm your mind, refocus and improve your concentration. Counseling, workshops and support services are available through CAPS as well.

It’s also important to make time for activities you enjoy. Try a new coffee shop with friends, or block off time in your day to spend on your hobbies. It can help to connect with others and participate in a new group or organization. Search The Spot for hundreds of student organizations on a variety of interests, including gaming, baking and academic clubs. 

Take care of your body

Make it a point to stay hydrated, get good sleep and eat healthy foods. IUPUI students have access to a free nutritional counseling appointment with an IU dietitian. Virtual appointments can be scheduled by calling 812-855-7338.

With less sunlight during winter, it can help to find ways to supplement vitamin D. Foods like salmon and mushrooms are a good source; vitamin D is also included in many daily vitamin supplements.

If you need food assistance, Paws’ Pantry and Help Me ROAR are great resources to explore.

Talk to an expert

Free health and wellness coaching is available at IUPUI to offer personalized guidance and help you reach your personal and professional goals. Certified coaches from Health and Wellness Promotion focus on physical and emotional well-being, reducing stress and making healthy changes that will last a lifetime.

The sessions are free and are available to all students. Schedule an appointment online anytime.

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