In many parts of the country right now, it's still winter, although spring peeks through occasionally. Frigid temperatures, threats of snow, cold cold nights, and all you want to do is burrow under a bunch of blankets and curl up and sleep. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real illness and needs clinical diagnosis and treatment, but you might also find yourself experiencing a milder kind of malaise, such as the winter blues or winter blahs, where it’s hard to find the motivation to study, work on your dissertation, or do much at all. If you find that feelings of depression or the inability to stay motivated are impacting your everyday life and obligations, please contact your health care provider or a trusted professional.

If you’re experiencing general blahs and winter doldrums, don’t despair – here are some ways to help beat the blahs and get back to work.

Keep up with your schedule. If you normally hit the gym, stick to the routine – not only will the exercise pump out those feel-good endorphins, but moving your body regularly will also help get rid of some of that pent-up energy from being inside. Get out in the sunlight for a little bit every day, if you can. But it’s also important to go to class and work regularly, keep up with your friends, and attend any social obligations. You might not feel like it because it’s dark so early and gets so cold, but keeping connected with others and sticking to your routine will help you feel better and keep your forward momentum going.

Take your vitamins. Nutrition is important year-round, but especially in the winter. A healthy diet can help relieve stress (check out our blog post here about that) and keep your immune system strong. There are also foods you can incorporate into your menu that may help stave off the blues. In the winter, you might not get as much sunlight as you do at other times of the year, and this can also affect your mood and concentration. Ask your doctor whether a vitamin D supplement might benefit you.

Break it down. Give yourself some grace and if a large task feels like too much right now, try breaking it down into smaller portions. Reward yourself for finishing each one and before you know it, you’ll have finished the larger project.

Try something new. If you’re working on one aspect of your dissertation and are feeling unmotivated or stuck, why not put it aside for a bit and work on another area? Sometimes a change of pace can make all the difference and when you return to your previous work, you’ll have fresh eyes and a new sense of purpose. You might even have a breakthrough when you finally give yourself a breather from the daily grind.

Relax. It’s okay to take a day or two to relax and cozy up in sweats, put aside your work and research, and sip cocoa or make hearty soup, and hibernate in a pile of blankets. Sometimes we all could use a day of rest and rejuvenation. If you are having a rough winter, give yourself a day to relax.

Here at Dissertation Editor, we know what it’s like to have dissertation or thesis deadlines in the dead of winter. We’ve been there, and we know how hard it can be – which is why we’re here to help. Dissertation consultations, coaching, editing, formatting, and data analysis assistance are just some of the services we offer. Contact us today to see how we can help you move forward on your graduate school journey!

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