Winter in the Pacific Northwest is hard for a lot of people, especially students. With the gloomy weather, heavy workload, and now with COVID, sometimes it is hard to stay motivated and encouraged to do everything that is on our plates. We at the Publishing Haus hope it is good to hear that you are not alone and to know what others do to keep themselves clear-headed. We’ve laid out some strategies Northwest students use to cope during the winter months.
Over 50% of the Northwest students that took our survey feel more anxiety and stress, as well as trouble with motivation in the winter. With all of these issues, it can feel like there is nothing you can do to help how you are feeling, but there are a few things that you could try to keep you stable. One of the best ways to help with stress and motivation is taking care of your body. Playing a sport and exercising, as well as eating enough good food is so important. A lot of Northwest students said that they use sports or exercise as a way to destress and focus on themselves rather than all of their commitments that may be stressful. It is advised by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get an hour of exercise most days of the week for teens. Many students also said that eating good food is something that helps them with stress and motivation. The lunches provided by Northwest are perfect examples of this.
Having things to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated in and out of school and limit stress. If you have a plan with your friends over the weekend, it is easier to make it through the week knowing that you have something fun coming up. Seeing friends and people that you love can help take your mind off of all of the stressful things that may be going on in your life, even if it is only for a few hours. A lot of people said that seeing their friends help with staying motivated and happy in winter when it can get hard.
Many students said that setting goals really helped them stay motivated. Making short-term goals for the week, or even for the day, such as getting this assignment done and turned in, or a more long-term goal like getting a certain grade in a tough class can really help. When you lose motivation or feel like there is no hope, it is good to look back at your goals and remember that all your hard work is leading toward achieving in the end. When setting goals, try to write them down and put them where you will be able to see them often, such as on your phone, on your mirror, or in your school notebooks.
Keeping motivation is very important and requires limiting stress and anxiety, or at least feeling like you know what you can do when you are going through it. Talking through your feelings with stress and anxiety is a great way to feel more in control. Talking to a professional such as a therapist or counselor is good because they can give you ideas on what to do to help, or they can just be there to listen. It is very hard to find a good counselor, but at Northwest, there are two great ones who can help at no cost to you. Letting people that are close to you know how you are feeling is also so important. They are the people that know you best and will be able to help you, whether it is just helping lighten your mood when possible, or talking through your feelings.
It can be scary or awkward to talk to your teachers about your feelings, but it can be really helpful. If you are struggling with your work or school, it is beneficial to tell your teachers so they can support you. Constant communication between you and your teachers is important. Telling them what you are going through can help them understand that you may need more time on assignments, or why you may be spaced out during class.
Whether it is seeing friends, exercising, eating a good meal, or checking off an assignment from your to-do list, small things can help so much with stress and motivation. Taking time for your own health, and taking a break from all of your activities is a good way to wind down and help with any stress you may be having. Being able to have resources in our community can help you connect with it and with others in it. Connecting back with the Northwest school community has helped many people with managing hard times.