As the year progresses and we get into the heart of winter, lots of students find it harder to stay productive. At first, it may seem like this is just because the excitement of the new school year has set in, but as true as that may be, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. One of the biggest killers of productivity for students and adults alike is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Scientists are not sure exactly what causes SAD, but things such as the lack of daylight and staying indoors are likely factors. Regardless of what may bring it, SAD is common throughout the wintertime and includes symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and even depression. While often talked about more with adults, students (especially in college) can also suffer the effects of SAD, especially when it comes to keeping up with studying and homework.
For today, let’s talk about a few helpful ways to avoid the negative effects of the wintertime and stay productive for the whole school year.
Firstly, you may want to ensure that you are well-hydrated and comfortable enough. Make sure that you don’t fall sick during this time, as most of us are prone to catching a fever or cold. One of the most obvious ways to counter the effects of less sunlight is to keep up your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is an essential part of maintaining a good mood, and a good mood is an important part of staying in a productive headspace. There are many ways to supplement your intake; consuming foods (like oranges) that are high in Vitamin D is one of the easiest. If that’s not enough, basic supplements are available, as are special lamps that simulate sunlight to help to body produce more.
A less obvious tip in the same vein is to be mindful of your winter skincare routine. Most of us don’t associate having good skin with productivity, but research suggests that dry skin and other negative results of cold weather may play a part in the onset of SAD. Because of this, taking care of your skin may be an unexpected help in countering some of SAD’s effects.
Staying active is another way of making sure the winter months don’t disrupt your productivity. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will already be familiar with the numerous benefits of exercising, even for just a short amount of time each day. It’s easy to let workout routines slip when the days are short and the weather is cold, but consistency is key. With specific regard to the winter months, physical activity helps the body produce the hormones to keep you in a positive mood as well as boost energy, two of the biggest effects of SAD.
Another way of combating SAD is to help other people. It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking time to focus on helping someone else, whether a classmate, sibling or anyone else, has been shown to boost the mood of the person who helps even more than that of the person who got the help. When it comes to productivity, staying in the right headspace is essential, and taking a little time to help others can keep everyone feeling more positive and productive.
Other tips include things like wearing bright colors, keeping your study area bright with things like plants and good lighting, and listening to upbeat music.
Whichever of these (or any other) methods work best for you, the most important thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, unimportant things such as the time of year can have an impact on studying and grades; the more mindful we are of our environment and how to make the best of it, the more we are able to stay ahead of the game.