students in the snow

Photo by: Kelsa Katzfey ’21

It’s that time in the middle of the semester where you might be feeling bogged down with school and life. If so, know that you are not the only one feeling this way. It is very normal for students to lose motivation and energy during this time!

The reasons for our mood and effort decreasing in school may be due to various reasons, and the way we combat against the mid-semester slump might differ for everyone. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge these feelings and make a plan that works for you!

I have come up with ten ideas to help break out of that mid-semester funk while still being productive. These tips will provide ways to spend your time when taking a short break from your studies without sitting behind your laptop or phone.

1. Grab coffee with friends or a mentor

Chatting over coffee allows you to take a break from school work while enjoying time with a friend. Talking about the positives and negatives of the week is a great way of putting school work into perspective.

2. Work out

Whether that means 30 minutes of cardio, going to the gym, or partaking in a workout class at the IWC, getting your body moving is the best way to stimulate your mind. Working out improves your health and can help you feel more accomplished. The IWC has multiple gym classes including HIIT The Core, Butt and Gut, Dance Fitness, Yoga and more to check out.

3. Cook/bake a healthy treat

One healthy snack idea is energy bites. They are quick and only take a few ingredients; peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and honey. The recipe is easy to find online and takes a short time to prepare. This is great for when you need a little mid-day pick me up snack to keep energy levels up and focus.

4. Play a game

A pick-up game or card game is a great way to gather friends together and enjoy a friendly competition. Take advantage of the IWC open daily to play a pick-up game of basketball or another sport. Another idea would be to get together and play a large game of spoons to see who is most competitive out of the bunch.

5. Play an instrument or sing along to your favorite songs

If you are musically gifted, seek out opportunities to find an instrument and play a song or two. Searching for new artists or genres on Spotify can be fun especially when you find music you truly enjoy.  Finding tunes you can listen to while studying can often make studying more enjoyable. Watch out for dates when coffee shops and café’s downtown host live music.

6. Call a loved one

Talking to your grandma, mom, friend, or significant other can uplift your mood and gives you time to catch up in each other’s lives. Talking to someone you know extremely well can help you stay motivated in your studies, because you are reminded of their continuous support for you.

7. Clean or pick up your room

Making your space tidy helps relieve stress and allows you to focus better while studying. For example, if you make your bed each morning you can say you have completed a task minutes after waking up. Staying organized is important and cleaning out your room is a great place to start.

8. Do something nice for someone else

Helping others can have the greatest impact on you, and it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture either!  Start by being more attentive to others and your surroundings to find ways to improve someone’s day. One example is to occasionally write your roommate or friend a nice note and place it somewhere they will see it when they come home from a long day. Simple gestures can really go a long way.

9. Plan something fun to do that weekend

Making plans allows you to have something to look forward to the following days. Building up the excitement for a few days can help encourage you to finish your assignments. There are always free events right on campus that you can look out for and bring your friends.

10. Nap

Staying up late studying can often leave you feeling exhausted the next day. Napping for about 30 minutes or less when needed, has been proven to help people think more clearly and be more efficient when studying. Napping might even make you wake up feeling more refreshed and productive.

Hopefully you will be able to take these ideas and integrate them into your own life. Often, we resort to scrolling on our phones during our downtime, but these ten tips can allow us to spend time in a more productive way. Winona State University wishes you well in all your studies, but don’t forget that taking breaks is needed too!

The WSU Health and Wellness Services are always available if you need other ideas on dealing with a mid-semester slump or if you need a health check with a provider. To schedule an appointment at the WSU Counseling Center call 507-457-5330 or visit their website to schedule an appointment with Health and Wellness Services call 507-457-5160 or visit their website.