[Image courtesy of Walt Stoneburner. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

This time of year, it can be tempting to drag your feet on school work. The weather is cold, midterms are approaching and awful, and you’ve reached a point where class seems close enough to done that it’s not worth bothering. If you’re a sophomore or junior, there’s the added unhappiness of not being young enough for college to still be novel while not being close enough to graduation to be excited.

I call this stage the “blerghs.” Though they’re great for wallowing in your misery, they suck for things like “keeping your grades up,” and “not getting scurvy and becoming a hermit,” and “bathing.” However, the blerghs are possible to overcome. Here are three ways that I’ve found to keep myself motivated enough to finish out the semester scurvy-free.

Revamp your diet: I spent most of the last week eating kit-kats for dinner. Not coincidentally, my face looks like an oil slick and I feel like I’m going to keel over from malnutrition. You don’t have to be a health freak, but make sure to incorporate some fresh vegetables and fruits into your diet–pumpkins and winter squashes are starting to be in season, and they’re cheap (yay!), easy to cook (yay!), and full of nutrients that will make you feel like a human again.

Study outside of the house: If you’re studying for midterms right now and are feeling like you never get to leave your apartment/dorm room, move your study space somewhere new. If it’s warm enough, outside can be nice, but the library stacks or a vacant practice room can both be viable options as well. The point is to move yourself into a new place in order to get out of your rut and feel like you’re not just doing the same thing all of the time.

Make a list of what’s good right now: It seems like my college is full of people who have five year plans for their lives which culminate in them ruling the world. I am so incredibly not that person–constantly planning for the next step makes me panic and prevents me from enjoying myself in the moment. This isn’t endorsing aimless wandering through life, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a little in-the-moment mindfulness can make you appreciate what’s good about right now rather than a hypothetical future. Make a list of the things that are going okay for you right now, whether it’s your work study job or a club you enjoy going to. Focusing on how those things make you feel will make you feel better, and–if you’re of the “do less, better” school of thought–will show you where you can focus your energies in the future.