It’s the middle of winter, and in many parts of the country, the temperatures have dropped and snow may be on the ground. It can be hard to muster up the motivation to do anything except put on your comfiest, warmest clothes, cover up with a blanket, and make some hot cocoa or coffee. The days are shorter, colder, and darker, which can cause the “winter blues” in many people, and contribute to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, in others. If you find that your depression or lack of motivation is interfering with your ability to function in everyday life, call your doctor as soon as you can, or make an appointment at your school counseling center. SAD is a type of depression and there is treatment for it. It’s not “in your head,” and you don’t have to do this alone.

Some lack of motivation or distraction is typical in the winter because of the colder temperatures, shorter days, and increased darkness. All of this can interfere with your motivation to work on your dissertation or thesis, but we’ve got some tips to help get you through.

Stay healthy. There’s nothing worse than having a cold or being sick during the winter, but staying healthy can help fortify you for all the work you have to do. Check out our blog post on staying healthy in the winter here. Stay hydrated, wash your hands often, eat a variety of nutrients, dress appropriately, and get enough sleep!

Get outside. Yes, even in the cold, try to get outside every day during the daytime, even for a little bit. It will help you feel less “cooped in” and the sunlight will do you good. Take a short walk around the block, have a snowball fight, or simply sit and observe your surroundings for a little. You’ll be glad you did – but remember to dress warm so you can enjoy your time outside.

Leave the house. It’s instinct to want to hibernate in this weather. But barring a snowstorm or inclement weather, why not get out of the house to do some work? Sometimes a change of scenery is just what we need for a jolt of productivity. Go to a local coffee shop, café, or library. Bring a pair of headphones, just in case – but being around people can have a positive effect.

Connect. Connect with others in your network, preferably in person – but don’t forget the benefits of internet connections as well. Call friends regularly, go for coffee or a snack with friends – maintaining connections with others is important for mental health (read our blog post here). Online, maintain your friendships with others through social media or networking apps, and you can follow hashtags on twitter or Instagram like #amwriting, #dissertationwriting, and more, to see that you’re not alone in your journey.

Take a break. If you’ve been hunkered down in front of your computer screen or buried in books or journal articles, take some time away from the work. Everyone needs a break and time to rest and recharge, to come back to the work with fresh eyes and renewed vigor. Go see a movie or catch one on Netflix or Hulu, go out with some friends or family, do something fun – just don’t do work for a day or two! Taking time away for a little bit is necessary; the important thing is that you return to it.

Find assistance if you need it. Everyone needs help sometimes. We don’t mean writing your paper or doing your work for you, but a professional editor can save you time and stress by providing thorough editing and formatting and guidance on the feedback your committee has provided. Here at Thesis Editor, not only do we have a team of editors, but we also have a stats team that can help you with data analysis, provide tutoring, and much more on your dissertation journey. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach your goals.
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