5 Tips for Beating the Winter Studying Blues
Dec 09, 2011
At this time of the year, with the shorter days and colder weather, studying can be more of a challenge. Whether your child is grappling with seasonal affective disorder or is just hitting a wall in the middle of the school year, there are ways to help. This list includes suggestions for maintaining focus, improving moods and beating those winter doldrums.
1. Seek Out Sunshine
When there's less sunshine during the day, it's especially important to take advantage when the sun is out. Look for opportunities for your child to get outside when the sun is shining. Unfortunately, there may be times when school, sports, clubs and other activities can keep your child indoors during the day. If that's the case, suggest eating lunch outside or trying to sit near any available windows when studying.
2. Eat Well
While maintaining a healthy diet is always important, certain foods can help your child stay focused and motivated during the winter. Omega-3 fats, for example, are proven fighters of depression. They can be found in many types of fish, such as salmon and shrimp, as well as walnuts, flax seed and tofu.
Conversely, there are foods that hamper your child's ability to perform well and should be avoided. Foods that are high in fat and refined sugar are more likely to cause depression. Avoid heavily processed foods, including fast food and pre-made frozen meals. While fresh fruits and vegetables may be less readily available in winter, seeking them out is critical for your child's mental health.
3. Use Music
During the winter, your child may need to work on homework long after the sun goes down. One method for breaking out of the funk that this time of year can bring is to literally bring out the funk, or rock, or jazz or whatever your child enjoys. This isn't the time of year for melancholic ballads about unrequited love; it's the time for lively, energetic music that gets the blood moving.
Some students can work well with music playing, while others find it distracting. If your child is in the latter group, encourage music breaks. Instead of using a study break to snack on candy or watch television, your child should listen to upbeat music that is both inspiring and motivational.
4. Stay Active
Your child should resist the urge to put exercise into hibernation mode during the winter. Physical activity is very beneficial to keeping the brain sharp and focused. If the weather prohibits outdoor exercise, suggest heading to a gym for a quick workout. You could also help your child create an exercise routine that takes place entirely within your home; this could include running up and down stairs, completing a series of push-ups and sit-ups or traversing an obstacle course.
5. Study in Groups
Winter has the deleterious effect of making many people feel isolated. Fortunately, your child can improve his or her mood by forming a study group with classmates. Working in a group, which may be as simple as sitting in the same room as friends while everyone works on homework, helps to develop a sense of community and encourages social interactions. This conviviality may beat back the winter studying blues and help your child succeed no matter what this season brings.
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