November, you're so serene (LOL not rly)
November is a beautiful month filled with gorgeous fall weather, pretty leaves, and lots of food. It's a nice little bridge between Halloween and the holidays. But, it's also the point in the fall semester where the entire world suddenly falls down on you, and it can put you into a bit of a slump.
Fear not, though; we've been there, and we know that you can overcome it. Here are some tips we've picked up over the years...we hope they work as well for you as they did for us!
Talk it out
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real thing- and, even if you don't officially have it, it's highly possible for you to still be affected by the changing seasons and the 5:00 pm sunset. Add on the stress of schoolwork, extracurriculars, and your personal life, and it's a recipe for a downward spiral. If you have access to a therapist at your school or in your local community, take advantage of it. You can see them as often or as little as you'd like, and it's a great way to deal with your stressors and emotions in a healthy way.
Find your "thing"
Some people work out when they're stressed (must be nice to ENJOY physical activity), some people paint, some people bake, and some people read or binge-watch Netflix. During times of high stress, it's important to know yourself well and know what "thing" works for you. I'm not saying you should ignore your responsibilities and watch The Office all day, but sometimes just taking 30 minutes to unplug from everything and take a breather will make you more productive after. You can't pour from an empty glass, so take some time to fill your (figurative) glass up.
Get a good planner
A lot of my stress is often due to the fact that I try to do everything at once. Even if something is due in three weeks, I'll instinctively do it immediately so I don't forget about it. Getting a good planner was a really good decision for me because I could schedule things out in advance and pace myself more efficiently. It's good to find a healthy medium between "I must finish all of this month's assignments today" and "due tomorrow, do tomorrow." If you know you wouldn't check a paper planner, download an app, or just schedule your assignments onto your phone's calendar! That way you can even get notifications to remind you to work on your stuff.
Get a good playlist
Music changes everything. I personally focus 10x better when I have a fire playlist to keep me going. Plus, it saves time because you don't have to skip every other song. You can make it a playlist of songs that make you happy, some good throwbacks, some instrumental study sounds, whatever floats your boat. If you're looking forward to the holidays, you can even make a playlist full of festive tunes to help keep you going.
Get a fresh new look
If you have any spare cash, you can hit your personal refresh button and either get yourself a nice new haircut, buy some new makeup, or get some new clothes. When you look good, you feel good; and when you feel good, you do good work. You can even just get a nice new pair of sweatpants to lounge in while you study, or some cozy new slippers if you prefer. Do what you gotta do.
Sometimes it's nice to make a Starbucks run and get a venti coffee with alllllll the good stuff (whipped cream, sugar, chocolate syrup, etc.). Or pick up some ice cream to eat while you study, if you prefer. Feel free to take a break to enjoy it without studying if you really need a little break. You deserve it, and if something little like that will make you feel better about life, then it's more than worth it!
Be in it together
Your friends are probably feeling the struggle, too, and it's important to support one another. Maybe you all need to get dressed up and have some fun for the night, or maybe you need to stay in for a wine & movie night in your PJs. Building each other up during difficult times will help to remind you all that you aren't alone. You can encourage each other to do better work when you need to, and you can encourage each other to take breaks if that's what would help. Don't hesitate to lean on your friends- especially because you know they'll need to return the favor one day.
Find something to look forward to
Whether it's Thanksgiving, the holidays, a visit from a friend, or a trip you're taking, make sure you remind yourself of what's to come to keep you going. Maybe put a picture of your next vacation destination as your phone background, or watch a cute holiday movie to get in the spirit, or even discuss specific plans with the friends or relatives you're looking forward to seeing. Reminding yourself that there is a world that exists outside of your current state of stress will really help.
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