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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Have you ever heard the line that our feelings change with the seasons?

As the sun starts to set earlier and each night gets colder, it’s hard to stay motivated. All students have entered the period where their professors assign too much work. I feel overwhelmed and burnt out, and I know there are a lot of others out there who feel the same. If you’re inclined to skip class, sleep in, and spend all your time on your phone, this cold weather has affected your mood. You want the semester to end and be home with your friends and family again. Trust me, I get it!

I believe in using a reward system whenever I’ve completed something significant that caused a lot of stress and anxiety. Whether it be a challenge at work or a highly weighted exam, many stressors affect our ability to be cheerful and carefree. These obstacles are necessary to challenge ourselves, but it’s essential to find a balance between work and leisure so you don’t enter into panic mode. I’ve compiled a lot of activities that have personally helped me feel recharged and satisfied with the progress I’ve made.

Journaling

Go to the store today or tomorrow and purchase a journal. Pick one that stands out to you and customize it to your liking. My journal is from the UMass Amherst bookstore! First, start easy. Write down whatever you feel, whether you fully understand your thoughts or not. Let it all out. This journal is yours. Take advantage of this opportunity to document your worries, stressors, or concerns.

Take a hot shower

Considering how cold it’s getting outside, this one is obvious, but take your time. Maybe you’ll indulge in an “everything shower,” where you use all your luxury shower products and feel pampered to the MAX. I suggest taking a shower in silence, without any music. Taking a shower can be a useful moment to gather your thoughts.

Go for a Drive

Going for a drive with my best playlists always makes me feel better, whether in the summer or winter. Bring friends along or go solo — roll your windows down and breathe in that fresh air. I love to put on some R&B on a joyride; I’d recommend SZA, Tory Lanez, and Mac Miller for a more chill vibe.

Watch your favorite comfort movie or show

A comfort movie is a movie that one frequently watches to destress and distract oneself from life’s daily stressors. My comfort movie is either Coraline or Twilight; I always put on these movies when I’m feeling down, which instantly gives me many positive feelings. Snuggle up with your pet, a cup of hot tea, and some popcorn, and get to watching!

Hit the gym

Exercise is clinically proven to increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. If you are someone who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, exercise could be beneficial. Everyone knows that great feeling after a good workout. You’ve invested time into yourself, and it feels fantastic. Running on the treadmill fast boosts my adrenaline, and I know it will help improve my physical and mental health.

make time for self care

This one is my FAVORITE! Setting time aside from your busy day to care for yourself is essential. To wind down, I like lighting a candle, taking a hot bath, putting on a face mask, and giving myself a manicure. Self-care can exist in many different forms, whether a spa night, meditating, or getting enough sleep; these can increase your overall mood. Yoga classes have been spiritually and physically uplifting for me after a long and stressful day.

Connect With Others

If you’ve been feeling down and depressed, my guess is (as a college student) you are struggling with making connections with other people around you. I’m a transfer student and know what it feels like to be lonely and disconnected from your community. Since coming to UMass Amherst, I’ve made extensive efforts to make new friends and put myself out there. If you feel alone with your struggles, I strongly encourage you to seek help and use your campus resources to return to a place where you feel yourself again.

I hope these seven tips can help you through this winter! I know it is easy to feel discouraged and lonely. This holiday season is meant to be full of love and comfort, so don’t be too hard on yourself either. Knowing when to take a break is super important!

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Julia Norton

U Mass Amherst '25

Julia Norton is a senior at UMass Amherst majoring in Economics with a minor in English. She is very excited to be a part of Her Campus and connect with the other young women in the UMass chapter. Along with writing, she enjoys reading, painting with watercolors, yoga, and watching movies.