Column: Fighting the November blues


Photo by Faith Kwong

Elissa Eaton, Features Editor

I’ve always found November to be the most challenging month of first semester. I think it’s even harder than December, which brings on its own set of challenges with finals. There’s something about November that’s especially mentally exhausting. It could be that we haven’t had a substantial break in a long time or just the fact that the end of the semester is so close, yet so far. I find myself flipping back and forth between the mindsets of “only one month left!” to “ugh we still have a whole month?” And I know that I’m not alone. As many students at Naperville North are muddling their way to Thanksgiving break, I’m here to give you some tips to fight the burnout that you may be experiencing. Whether you are sick of school or you just feel bleh in general, I’d like to offer some advice. 

  1. Make time for fun: I often find myself reminiscing about simpler times when I did not have to worry about calculus tests or getting into college. Although this time of year may be more stressful than it used to be, it’s still supposed to be fun! Just because it’s important to keep your grades up doesn’t mean that carving out time for fun should be put on the back burner. The more you throw yourself into schoolwork, the less you are going to want to do it. It’s important to take breaks and spend time with your friends and family, especially during the holiday season. I know that many holidays take place during and even before winter break. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to wait for my last final to be over in order to make the most of the holidays. 
  2. Exercise: This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your preference. I like to run. Whether alone with some tunes or with friends, it never fails to boost my mood. No matter how you exercise, it’s so important to get it in. I know that it can be hard to find the motivation to do it, but I can guarantee that you will be glad after the fact. Not only will it improve your mental health by boosting endorphins, exercising will actually improve your focus. I find that I can finish my homework much quicker and with more focus after a run compared to when I don’t exercise. 
  3. Talk about it: Now that we have changed our clocks for daylight savings, the darker days can lead to feeling more down in the dumps than usual. The academic pressure of keeping those grades up isn’t helping. Don’t dismiss these feelings. The winter blues are real emotions that many experience. No one should have to go through these feelings of sadness alone, so reach out. It could be as simple as texting a friend or complaining to your parents. Not everything has to be said and it definitely shouldn’t be forced, but knowing that you have support will be an asset during unmotivated times. 

There’s no doubt that this time of year puts many students in the pressure cooker. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. Although it’s important to keep those grades up, it’s equally, if not more, important to keep your mood up. The only thing that should be dropping for the remainder of this semester is the temperature. There’s so much to look forward to this holiday season, so hang in there Huskies!