Beating the Winter Blues
As the days become shorter and the snow begins to fall, it is increasingly difficult to stay motivated. The gloomy days invite us to snuggle up with a good book, movie, or exciting video game. However, giving in to this temptation can lead us to fall behind in our studies. A little bit of planning can combat the winter blues and make learning enjoyable. Here are few study tips that A Grade Ahead recommends for helping you get comfy and succeed in the winter months.
Find Just the Right Place
It is very important to stay comfortable in the winter months to maintain your positive outlook and stay motivated. A warm, sunny nook is the best possible space to study on a cold winter day. First, the cold can be a distraction, so warmth is essential. Sunshine provides not only that warmth and the light to read by but also Vitamin D, which is needed for fighting the winter blues. Vitamin D boosts our moods as well as helps us process nutrients like calcium. Natural light helps prevent eyestrain as well and makes the space more inviting and comfortable. Therefore, if a sunny space is not possible, equip your study space with a soft light that simulates natural light.
Although comfort and coziness are beneficial, make sure that the space is organized and that everything you need is within reach. It is important to make the most of your time, and hunting for a pencil runs the risk of distractions. Also, make sure that you have a flat surface to write on if needed and a chair that will help you maintain good posture.
Plan Your Timing Carefully
Once you find the right space, find just the right time. If possible, set aside time on a day when you have fewer classes and commitments. It is important not to feel rushed when studying for that big English test, so squeezing in a few moments here and there is not ideal. It is much better to dedicate blocks of time for studying. This may not be possible every day, so it may be necessary to work ahead. If you know there is a math test coming up, begin your preparations several days in advance.
Everyone also has a special time of day when they feel like they are at their best. It is crucial in the winter months to make the most of that specific time. It is far more difficult to bully your brain into studying when you are tired and cranky. So, if you feel energetic and positive in the morning, complete your work then.
Build in Breaks: The Pomodoro Technique
An intense focus on studying cannot be sustained indefinitely without burn out. Therefore, it is essential to build in brief breaks periodically during your study sessions. The Pomodoro Technique suggests taking a 5-minute break every 20 minutes. At a minimum, use the time to stretch and possibly get some fresh air. Stretching is essential to keeping yourself comfortable and easing muscle tension. Even a walk to the kitchen for a healthy snack can help. Fresh air, though, can stimulate the brain cells and keep you awake, so consider bundling up and stepping outside for a moment.
Hydration is always essential no matter what the season. Drinking water periodically throughout the day boosts our cognitive functions as well as our moods, so having a bottle of water at hand is an important part of any winter study strategy.
Have a Cuppa
Is there anything better than a hot drink on a cold day? A cup of hot chocolate or tea can go a long way to helping you feel relaxed and comfortable. A small amount of caffeine can be helpful, but be careful not to overstimulate yourself with several cups of coffee or caffeinated tea. A large amount of caffeine is detrimental to your long-term health and will not necessarily benefit your studies. You can limit your caffeine intake by switching to hot cocoa or decaffeinated tea.
Once you finish studying, reward yourself with a fun activity that will help your brain relax. Again, intensely focusing on work leads to burnout, so helping yourself relax after a study session is important to sustaining your motivation throughout the winter.
Learning may not always be fun, but it can be rewarding even during the gloomy winter months. Beat the winter blues by providing yourself with the right space, choosing the right time, and making yourself comfortable. Looking for even more help? Consider taking a free assessment joining an enrichment program today!
What do you think? How do you beat the winter blues and maintain good study habits during this season? We would love to hear from you in the comments!
Author: Susanna Robbins, Curriculum Assistant and Teacher at A Grade Ahead