By: Emma Norton

If you are like me, everything gets a little bit harder in the winter. It’s a little harder to get up in the morning, a little harder to feel motivated, a little harder to get work done. In the winter, it can be too cold to want to go outside and do the activities that help cheer you up. There are many ways to help with these winter blues, and I wanted to share a few that have helped me.

First, staying active releases endorphins, which causes serotonin production in your brain. It makes you happy. One way to relieve stress and help you stay active is yoga. Yoga is wonderful for your mind, body, and soul. It is meditative yet challenging, and can be tailored to everyone, no matter your skill level.

For UW students, yoga is available in group classes in the William’s Center. Roberta’s Art Gallery and UC Live will also be hosting yoga in Roberta’s Art Gallery on April 29 as apart of their “Letting Go” exhibit. With both yoga opportunities, you will get amazing instruction and peace of mind, which will help you produce more serotonin, allowing you to feel better in the winter months. This is a great activity to do when you cannot go outside when it is too cold. If you don’t feel comfortable going to classes, there are many videos with great instruction that you can do in the comfort of you home, dorm, or apartment. Going to gym or participating in intermural sports are other ways to stay active in the winter, while allowing you to be social and have fun with your friends.

Other than exercise, there are many things to do inside as well. Art is a great outlet for creativity, while being a mental escape. There are many options: painting, drawing, crafts, and even writing. Painting and drawing are great ways to rid yourself of stress, and the best part is that there are no rules. You can express what you feel on paper or canvas and get rid of any negative energy that may be weighing on you. I recommended checking out Roberta’s Art Gallery’s Craft Corner blog for inspiration if needed!

Writing is another creative outlet, and it doesn’t have to be a story. Writing poetry is great way to express your thoughts and feelings, or journaling is good for your mental health as well. Sometimes, getting your thoughts on paper allows you to let them leave your mind, and then you don’t have something negative clouding your thoughts and judgement.

Sometimes life seems very routine, or boring even. You feel as if you get stuck in an endless cycle of waking up, going to class, then to clubs, and back to sleep. However, you’re in luck because there are a few fixes to this never-ending cycle. One way is to start looking at the world as if it is the first time you’ve seen it. You might notice things you haven’t before: the precise way all the branches fit together on a tree, the way the wind feels on your face, and how beautiful the sky looks. This helps to change your mindset, knowing you are going to notice something new every day.

Another way is to slightly change your routine. Obviously, you can’t skip class, but you could take a social media break, go somewhere different to eat, or make plans with people you don’t hang out with on a regular basis. These are a few simple ways to change up your weeks without doing anything too drastic.

I know everything gets harder in the winter, but these tips and tricks are just a few of the ways to maintain your well-deserved happiness throughout these colder months. Just think, spring and summer are almost here, and you’re doing amazing!

So, next time you feel yourself slipping into a boring routine or the winter blues are really kicking in, try something you think you might enjoy!

If you feel like talking to a professional about this, UW-Whitewater has many free therapy and counseling opportunities for students.  I just want to remind each one of you that this world is a much better place with YOU in it!