I often wish that I could physically pick up my University and place it in the Southern Hemisphere. As much as I love Canada, I absolutely HATE the cold. I have the pain tolerance to withstand a tattoo without a flinch, but I have absolutely no cold tolerance. Unfortunately, the reality is, I do live in Canada, and Canada tends to get rather chilly. So, I have to grin and bear it, and find ways to manage.
When it gets cold outside, it’s so hard to leave my bed, let alone my house. However, while I know there are still going to be days where it’s so damn cold out there that all I wanna do is snuggle and watch movies, it’s not something that can happen every day. In my second year of University, I would manage most of the cold weather by simply spending the majority of my time at home and/or in my room, but as I learned, this wasn’t a healthy habit. While I didn’t have to face the cold temperatures outside my door, I ended up in a position where my mental and physical wellbeing were taking a hit. I felt lonely, sad, unproductive, and anxious… I didn’t go to class, I was over reliant on my then-boyfriend, I didn’t care about my schooling, and I didn’t feel like I had any sort of purpose. Somehow though, at the time, I didn’t see any of this as being an issue – it was just how things were.
It wasn’t until almost a year later that I realized how bad my mental state had been in my second year. I had not been okay, and I hadn’t really done anything about it. I’d really just been lucky. Lucky that I had new friends coming into my life to drag me out of a dark hole I didn’t even realize I was in.
The only positive thing that came out of my behaviours at this time in my life, is that now I’m aware of one of my major red-flags: staying in the house all day. I have become a lot more self-aware over the past two years, which has really helped me notice when things aren’t quite right within myself. I also now have strategies that help me combat my reclusive desires; for example, if I haven’t left the house all day and don’t have reason to do so, I’ll go to the book store, I ‘ll go to the gym, I’ll go for a walk, and so on.
I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with the cold and dreary weather, so, as the it starts to swoop in, I wanted to share some of the ways I work to stay productive, stay active and stay positive during the winter months.
- JUST FKN DO IT
Yeah, getting out of bed sucks, and it’s hard, especially when you know there’s a pile of snow on your car outside waiting for you to brush it off. I guarantee we would all rather stay warm and toasty in our blankets, but what is that going to do for us? Where is that going to get us? Sure, you could miss work for the day, but then you’ll just be behind tomorrow. Sure, you don’t have to go to class, but you know you’ll feel better prepared if you do. Sometimes, you literally just have to throw those blankets off yourself, jump out of bed and start your day. (I actually do this whenever my bed has trapped me)
2. Create a morning routine
For me, my morning routine differs depending on what I have going on that day, but it goes one of two ways. On days where I have early class or work, I’ll wake up, make my coffee to go, pack my food and head to campus. Some days, I’ll just wear my gym clothes to class, and other days I’ll bring it along. Either way, I take that “just do it” mentality, get out of bed, and go. On days where I don’t have class, or have a slower morning, I’ll wake up, go make my coffee and grab my breakfast, come back to bed and watch an episode or two of whatever I’m currently bingeing on Netflix. Then, I’ll get my butt moving and go to the gym. This might sound rather generic and futile to you, but having a general idea of how I’m going to start my day helps me get moving, be productive, and get out the door – regardless of the weather. (some days I don’t even check the weather, I just open the front door on my way out to decide which jacket I need, or if I need an umbrella – that way I’m already on my way before the weather can make me second guess my decision)
3. Bundle Up
I am not very good at this one, but I’m learning the importance of it. As much as I love to look cute, being warm is more important. I used to underestimate how cold I was going to be on any given day, but I now realize that it’s a lot nicer to take off layers, than to freeze my butt off. So if I need to wear two jackets, or wear leggings under my jeans, I will. But then there’s the always difficult battle of being warm enough outside wihtout being too hot inside. Considering I can’t always fit my lunch, gym clothes, textbooks and laptop all in my backpack, sometimes I bring an extra bag to carry. So why not also use that extra bag to carry my excess layers? If staying warm is what I need to do in order to be productive and get where I need to be, then you bet you’ll see me walking across campus wrapped up like a burrito, sometimes that’s just the way it has to be.
Going into the cold, snowy winter, I hope that you can find ways to be productive and maintain your motivation. I know it can be hard, I know it can be so much easier to “just go home,” but won’t it feel better if you do everything you planned on doing? Won’t it feel better if you don’t skip class? Won’t it feel better if you make it to the gym? I think it will. Don’t let the weather get you down, you got this.