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How to Stay Motivated as the Days Get Colder

Datum:16 november 2020
Pretending like it didn't take me 2 hours to get out of bed that morning!
Pretending like it didn't take me 2 hours to get out of bed that morning!

The days are progressively getting colder and shorter, and for some people that can be quite… sad, to say the least. It can be harder to get out of bed in the cold, dark morning and get anything done during the day. As a person who comes from a country with year-round sunlight and literally no winter, I still find it super depressing to finish classes at 5 p.m. and realize that the day went by and it is once again dark. However, it is now my fourth year of living in Groningen, and after some trial and error, I’ve finally found some great ways to keep yourself motivated during these colder times. Check them out:

1. Beat the weather

If it’s dark, rainy, and cold in the morning, you can bet that I have the hardest time getting up. Who wants to leave their comfy and warm blanket-haven to go to a 9 a.m. class? Not me! But, we’re busy students with compromises and responsibilities, which means that as much as we’d love to spend the day in a blanket-burrito, we’ve got places to be. Your best shot at beating this feeling is to beat the weather yourself. Your body naturally uses sunlight to wake up, so if your room is dark when you wake up, make sure to turn on your lights as soon as that alarm goes off. Next thing you’ll need to add is some toastiness. Make sure your heaters are on, and that you put on some warm clothes. If your commute to work or uni is as far as taking three steps to your desk or your living room, you’re safe. However, if you’ve got to brace the cold, my best recommendation is to invest in some good winter clothes. You’ll want to be warm, comfy, and most importantly, waterproof when you bike. It won’t make the bad weather go away, but at least it’ll make it easier to bear. 

2. Stop and look around

Seasonal depression is a thing, and anyone can feel it! If you feel your mood turning as dark and cold as the weather around you, it might be useful to try and focus on the nice things. The city is now decked out with lights for the upcoming Holidays, and soon, everything else will follow. I find it nice to see how, little by little, the houses that I usually pass by on my way to uni or to the grocery store become decorated with lights. Maybe somewhere around the city, you’ll hear the familiar melodies of “All I want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, or “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé. Even more, if you’re lucky, on a rainy day, you’ll see someone walking their dog with a tiny dog rain-jacket (!!!). What I mean by this is that the colder days also bring about a myriad of different things that you won’t see in the summer, and it’s good to stay in the present and appreciate them while they’re here (like your local Oliebollen truck). How can you spot them, you may ask? Use your senses! You soon find little things that make you feel gezellig.

3. Stay busy (with fun things)

The worst thing you can do during these times is to sit down in your bed all day on your phone. Yes, I realize that that is exactly what we all want to do sometimes, but it’s maybe not the best idea when the days last literally only 8 hours. If you’re studying at home, it might get extremely difficult to stay productive. That’s why it helps to keep track of your time! Planning in your class and study hours is really important, but what will you do for the rest of your day? Make sure to plan stuff that makes you happy as well. Maybe one day you can try out a new recipe, have a house-decorating evening with your roommates, or meet up with a friend to go for a walk around the park. It’s hard to get out of the house now that corona measures are in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things that make the days exciting. We’ll be busy enough with our studies, so it’s important to plan out the rest of our day and make sure you include things that make it personally fulfilling!

4. Keep your friends close

The truth is that the best way to stay motivated during these times is to reach out. For example, are you finding it hard to get up while it’s cold and dark for a lecture? You’re not the only one! Why not make jokes and laugh about it with your friends in the groupchat? The short days may bring sadness, and sadness can sometimes make you prefer to stay in isolation. However, what has truly worked for me during these past three years in Groningen is to make the effort to reach out to my friends and make sure I have company. This year, “company” may look a little different. It’s important to put the corona measures first and understand that social distancing is a must if we ever want this pandemic to end. That being said, it’s no excuse for not talking to your friends! If you’re feeling gloomy, reach out. Even a virtual meeting can lift up your spirits. It’s not about how physically close you are, but how close you can stay to one another despite the distance!

The cold days can be different for everyone. These are some of the ways that help me stay motivated. Have you got any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below! Also, remember that it’s normal to feel sad. If you feel like it’s getting too difficult to stay motivated, and this is affecting your studies, let your study advisor know how you’re doing. 

Over de auteur

Hey! I’m Ariana and I’m a Costa Rican student with a passion for photography, dancing, and cute dogs. Aside from writing blogs, I’m doing my Bachelor’s in Media Studies. If you see me around smiling at my phone, I’m probably looking at memes (or cute dogs).


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