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January through March — the best time of year, right? Well, maybe for some but for me, not so much! After the holidays pass, I am reminded of how long, dark, cold, and boring the peak winter season really is. I especially realized this while experiencing my first extended winter break home from college. I got in the habit of scrolling through Instagram for hours, living vicariously through my followers’ warm tropical getaways… while sitting on my couch in pajamas at two o’clock in the afternoon. However, by having all this free time on my hands, I did discover five ways that helped me stay occupied when the boredom really hit, and maybe they can help others in the same boat too! 

  1. Binge Watch a TV Series 

Whether it be old or new, who doesn’t love finding the perfect new show? Over break, I found myself getting lost in the archives of Netflix, picking different series that would keep me pressing “next episode” for hours on end. What’s even better is getting a friend or family member interested in the same series, this way you can have a watching buddy or someone to discuss the plot with! While you may not always have hours of free time to binge-watch your favorite series, even just sitting down to watch an episode or two is a great way to break up your day and let your mind relax. 

  1. Read a New Book 

If watching TV just doesn’t do it for you, reading a new book can be the perfect way to let your imagination wander. Books are not only a great way to pass time, but they can actually keep your brain sharp and reduce stress— score! Next time you feel like you have nothing to do, try out a new read. I know, it probably sounds boring at first, but don’t knock it until you try it. Reading for fun can actually become fun, just give it a chance! 

  1. Make an Effort to Move 

Laying on the couch or in your bed all day can become quite habitual. It’s freezing outside, who would want to move away from their cozy blankets? Personally, I find my motivation to move to be the lowest during the winter months, which encourages me to make an even greater effort to be active every day. Whether it be an exercise class, meditation, or a brisk outdoor walk, movement is a great way to pass time and keep your spirits high. While it might not seem enticing at first, I think we can all agree that we’ve never regretted doing something good for our bodies. Making an effort to move is important in maintaining physical and mental health, especially during the wintertime when our daily routines become more stationary and indoors. 

  1. Try a New Recipe 

That fun, easy recipe that keeps popping up on your TikTok… give it a try! No matter your level of culinary skill, there is a recipe for everyone. While I personally do not excel at making savory dishes, I love to bake. Recently, my sister and I tried out an easy, healthy “five-ingredient muffin” recipe she found on TikTok. What better way to pass time with a friend or family member than by making something new to try? Not only can it be a cure to boredom, but you may just stumble upon your new favorite dish.

Here’s a similar, easy, healthy muffin recipe for anyone who wants to try!
  1. Prioritize Self-Care 

It is easy to get down on ourselves when we are being “lazy.” That obligatory feeling that we should be doing something when we are not creeps into our heads and can quickly ruin our relaxation. While the feeling of boredom is often not appreciated, it can actually be a great time to prioritize yourself and focus on what you truly need. Try a face mask, taking a warm bubble bath, listening to music, journaling, or doing anything that makes you feel good about yourself! As college students, I think we can all agree that in our hectic day-to-day lives, we rarely have nothing to do. Appreciate the time you have to do nothing and make it productive by focusing on you! 

While January — March might not be everyone’s favorite time of the year, the only thing truly holding us back is ourselves! Shift your mindset and next time those winter blues hit, try out one of these five boredom hacks. Before you know it, the days will be getting longer, warmer, and sunnier! 

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