Staying Motivated During the Winter – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Staying Motivated During the Winter

Whether you are new to the beautiful Pacific Northwest or have lived here for several years, the winter season can serve as a helpful reminder to engage in habits that motivate and inspire you to do your best work. Below are a few strategies that can help keep you energized throughout the quarter.

Stay hydrated. You may feel more fatigued during darker and colder weather. One way to increase your energy is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Have you ever forgotten to stay hydrated because your work and personal lives are so busy? We have, too. It may sound silly, but try scheduling a daily reminder for yourself to drink a glass of water (at least once an hour) or to fill up your water bottle before heading to the classroom or work.

Fuel up. The Pacific Northwest is known for its love of caffeine. And while not everyone drinks coffee or tea — for those of us who do — caffeine offers that added boost of alertness during early winter mornings or afternoons. Another way to boost your energy is by incorporating fresh fruit, whole grains or nuts into your diet during the season. 

Connect with community. To maintain momentum throughout the quarter, it’s so important to connect with peers, advisors, mentors and friends. Maybe you need a studying, project or writing accountability partner. Or it might be time to schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor to check in about your project goals. Even still, the combination of the winter season and balancing a busy schedule can sometimes lead to unintentional isolation. So make time to connect with friends — over the phone or lunch, at the movies or at an event — as this is an important part of self-care.

Reach out for support. Stress in graduate school can contribute to periods of anxiety as well as feelings of self-doubt. If left unchecked, stress and anxiety can lead to serious mental health issues. If you are experiencing intense or prolonged periods of anxiety, or need emotional support for another reason, we encourage you to seek support from qualified mental health professionals on or off campus. And remember, there is no shame in doing so.

We hope you find these tips useful for navigating the winter quarter, and let us know what has worked for you!


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