Brrr, winter is coming. No - wait, winter is here! And we’re sure in the thick of it.
Short days, long nights and a distinct lack of distractions (like going to the beach) make winter the perfect time to study. But when all you want to do is stay snuggled in bed, how can you keep yourself motivated during the cool months? Here are 8 tips for studying during the cold winter season.
In the cold weather it’s easy to keep yourself locked away inside. After all, it’s warm in there! But getting outside, getting some sunshine and getting away from it all will help you to feel better and to concentrate more effectively when you do get back inside.
So take yourself down the street and around the corner and back again. Or walk to the local park and sit on a bench in the sun. Getting out in winter is the perfect study cure.
Get Cosy and Warm
While the occasional Vitamin E from an brief outside stroll will do wonders for your stress levels and productivity during study – you’ll inevitably cosy up back home to get your work done.
Of course, the cold winter can lead to a cold home, so get a blanket and rug up! Heaters are fine, but they can cause dehydration, so another winter study alternative is to find a cosy nook in the local library or your favourite café and study from there.
Have a Cuppa
The world looks worse when we’re cold and thirsty, so get into the kitchen and make a cup of tea, or a coffee or maybe a cup of soup.
This has the benefit of warming you up and gives you a break from your busy study schedule. Just watch out with over-doing the caffeine – while the world’s arguably most popular drug can help you concentrate your mind and improve your attention, too much will have you dehydrated and running to the bathroom way too frequently to get any real study done.
We can’t study on an empty stomach. While it’s tempting to get some snacks, sugar will make your feel sleepy and mess with your metabolism. So make yourself something that is nutritious and will fill you up. Soup is a great idea, with the added benefit that it’s inexpensive, warm and will last you a couple of days worth of study if you make enough of it. Pair it with some crusty bread, and you’ve got the perfect snack that will keep you warm and focused.
Turn off the TV – and Social Media
Studying with noise in the background makes it harder to concentrate, and even more difficult to retain facts. So turn off the TV, and that way you won’t get distracted by the latest developments on Days of Our Lives or The Young and the Restless. If you have a PVR or streaming media, schedule a time around lunch to catch up on all the goss from those shows. It’s a reward that will have you studying solidly. And while you’re at it, mute the social media notifications on your phone or tablet. If you can’t do without the latest memes, allow yourself five minutes an hour (or your whole lunchbreak) to catch up on the latest in social.
Pat the Dog – or Cat
Animals fill us with good vibes and throw a lot of love in our direction. If you’re having trouble concentrating, give your pet a big cuddle and have a chat to it. Your pet might not provide you with the answers you’re looking for in your study, but it will give you some mental space to think outside the box when you do get back to your studying.
You can also combine this tip with the first tip – getting outside – and take the dog for a walk to the local park. This will destress you, give you the exercise you need to study effectively during winter, and will also create a mental space for you to do your most effective work.
Pump Some Tunes
Classical music, or music without lyrics, has been shown to be an effective way to help people studying absorb information. The danger with lyrics is that we focus on the words, rather than what we should be concentrating on - our study. However, some gentle music in the background (or through headphones if you need to block out noise from outside your study zone) or even those pesky housemates that have decided to have a Fortnite tournament on the Xbox – is just the trick you need to stay in the zone.
Phone a Friend
It’s important not to shut yourself away from the outside world and your social group when you are studying. Having social contact improves our cognition and, if your friends are also studying the same course, you can have an ad-hoc group study session.
With those tips in mind, winter should become the perfect time to study. Just make sure you get some exercise, pat the dog and keep your stomach full! For more of our tips on how to make student life a tad easier, check out more of our SkillsTalk study articles here.