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Wellness

How to Inspire Yourself This Winter

Winter’s first snow can be beautiful; the air isn't too cold yet and we still watch in awe as thick snowballs rain from the clouds. As winter goes on, snow will turn to slush. Grey skies will be more draining than mystical, and the cold will refuse to stay put, trying instead to follow you inside. 

As the months go on, many, myself included, find it hard to stay inspired and driven. It can feel as if the cold is draining the motivation from our bones. 

So, what can we do to stay driven and inspired? How do we keep motivated in school, work, and creative endeavours? How do we stick to our New Year’s resolutions and feel fulfilled?  

Schedule

Advice you've probably heard a lot is to set a schedule, and by this point you probably have some sort of a routine in your life. This routine could be what time you wake up and go to bed, or it could be an itemized list of everything you do in that day and what time you'll do it at. The difference here is that this schedule will be for just the winter. 

The reason you might want a different schedule in the winter is because of the sun’s diminished shining hours. People are more productive and happier when the sun is out, so if your goal is to do work or school during your most productive hours, then you should take advantage of that knowledge, and schedule your day around the sun. Now I'm not saying that you need to meticulously plan out your day, but you might need to readjust your day so that you can be finished all the “big stuff” by 5 when the sun goes down. 

Sunlight

Another option for those particularly assaulted by the lack of sunlight is a light box or therapy lamp. These lights are specifically designed for people with seasonal affective disorder but help increase proximity and readjust sleep schedules. Light boxes mimic the sun and can allow you to feel productive even after the sun has set. They also help bring some light to the days where grey clouds obliterate the sun.

 To make the most of the few hours of sunlight you really should go outside. Bundle up, throw a mask on, and go get some fresh air. Your mask will keep your nose warm, protect those you may pass on the street, and will keep people from recognizing you. This way, you’ll be able to roam the streets, walk a little funny, or wear that weird hat your friend knitted during the first quarantine – without feeling embarrassed. These freeing moments are some of the most inspiring. You can be anyone in your mind and really live in your daydream fantasy world.

Meditation

My last piece of advice is to meditate. It can be your delayed New Year’s resolution. Try it, just for a week. Download a guided meditation app, find a good video on YouTube, and follow along – even if it’s just for five minutes. If you don’t enjoy it, at least you can tell the next person pressuring you to try meditation that you gave it an honest shot.

Meditation gives your brain a break, lets your body center itself, and forces you to separate yourself from the stress, anxiety, and screens that fill most of our daily lives. It can inspire productivity, creativity, and activity (all the -ivities). So give it a chance. For real this time. 

Winter can be a draining and uninspiring time in the best of circumstances, but by following these tips you can fight back and motivate yourself. At least until the spring flowers start pushing through the soil.

Emma Schuster

Waterloo '24

Emma Schuster is a second-year student at the University of Waterloo, pursuing a Joint Honours in Environment, Resources, and Sustainability and Biology. She sits as a member of the UWaterloo Senate and works as the Social Media Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North.
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