Take care of yourself during cold winter months

Jackie Keating

Alas, the worst time of the year is upon us: the middle of winter term.

There are no breaks in sight, the weather is cold, wet and unforgiving, it’s almost impossible to motivate ourselves to get out of bed and midterms keep slapping us in the face. Don’t despair though. I am here to give you some tips for persevering through the rest of the term with something somewhat resembling a smile on your face, or at least to save you from tears of anxiety and stress-induced sadness.

Tip number one: Don’t spend all day studying. Let’s be clear—I am not saying “don’t study.” Studying is important. But It’s also important to move around a little—run a few errands, hit the gym or visit a friend for a bit. Locking yourself inside with nothing but textbooks won’t be particularly fun, and eventually all of the information will just run together. Your studying will be more effective if you get to look at the material with fresh eyes every now and then.

Another tip is to make yourself a hot drink. Make some tea or hot water in order to rejuvenate and keep hydrated and warm. It can be hard to remember to drink a lot of water when you’re cramming, but doing so will keep you healthy and refreshed.

You should determine the environment in which you can focus the best. For some, it may be the Valley or public library, so that they don’t get tempted to take a nap or watch Netflix in bed. For others, the desk in their room works just fine. It certainly depends on your style, so mix it up a bit until you find where you can be the most productive.

Also think about taking a little time to cook yourself a fancy meal, or whip up a decadent batch of cookie dough (preferably chocolate chip). Treating yourself and taking a little time for your happiness and not just your grades will help to boost your morale and get back to studying with vigor.

The right music can also make a big difference. I would try to find a Spotify or Pandora playlist that makes you happy, but that won’t distract you from your studies. I find that songs with lyrics can be distracting, so you may want to find songs that have gentle notes and not a lot of actual words, like classical or jazz music.

This next one is tough, but important: get some sleep. I know you think that the extra two hours you spend studying after midnight will help you on the test, but after a certain point you’ll be too exhausted to retain much. Try to get to bed at a decent hour and wake up a little earlier than usual if you deem it absolutely necessary. Loss of sleep can make you more prone to the viruses going around, and we all know how awful it is to have to cram for exams while sick.

Another important one is to relax. Once you enter the examination room and sit down, there’s nothing else you can do. So lean back with a slightly smug look on your face and survey your surroundings. You are a lion; the rest of these plebeians are sheep. If you look confident, you might start to feel more confident. So keep your chin up, and your midterms will be over before you know it (unless you’ve got those sneaky week nine midterms, in which case best of luck to you, comrade).

The opinions expressed in Keating’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer Staff.

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