How I’m finding #joyatUofT this winter

The other day, someone on my Facebook feed posted something along the lines of, “I’m really not impressed by how dark it is outside – day, if you want me to be productive and get out of bed, you’re going to need to do better than this.”

Judging by the amount of ‘likes’ this comment accrued, I know I’m not the only one who felt she was preaching to the choir.

In the winter, it can be hard to stay motivated. Just this morning, I woke up late and missed the class I was planning to attend at the gym. It’s really hard not to let the winter blahs get you down – these are some of the ways I stay motivated and happy at this time of year.

A puppy looking over a couch and sticking its paw up.

Emergency winter blahs tactic: look up Google images of puppies. This one by knobiobiwan via deviantart.

For me, at this time of year, I try to look for reasons to be happy in the small things, and cut myself some slack. This morning, instead of making myself feeling bad about missing the class and skipping the gym altogether, I looked up another time today that I can go and get some exercise to kick in some endorphins.

I also find it really important to see your friends at this time of year. Yesterday, I had dinner with a friend who I haven’t been spending enough time with. She told me she has been having a lot of negative feelings lately, and I told her I’ve been having a similar experience – and when we compared our insecurities, we realized how similar they were and how unwarranted they were in both cases, and were able to laugh things off. Spending time with friends doesn’t just make dreary days seem a little brighter – it also gives you a lot of perspective.

Another quick fix to the winter blahs is to take regular breaks from working on campus! If you’re at the library all day reading, take at least a half hour off every few hours to give your brain a chance to relax. Take a walk, attend a de-stressing event (like a massage or craft session at Hart House), or explore somewhere beautiful on campus you’ve never been before. The other day, I had lunch with a few friends at the new Rotman cafe and found that changing up my environment made me all the more productive in the afternoon.

An image that says "joy" with a colour swirl behind it.

How do you find #joyatUofT?

This time of year can be difficult, but making time for yourself is really important, even when it seems like you should just have your face in a book all the time. When you’re feeling the dark days are getting you down, be sure to look up and look for joy at U of T!

How do you find #joyatUofT? Share your tips for beating the winter blahs on Twitter with us at @lifeatuoft!

And if you’re feeling like you really can’t shake the winter blues, know you’re not alone, consider reaching out to a peer, mentor, family member, professor, or a Health and Wellness Centre counsellor. Learn more about dealing with stress on the Health and Wellness Centre site.


Danielle is the summer 2015 Communications Intern at the Office of Student Life. She wrapped up her undergrad this year and will be entering a master's program at U of T in the fall, studying in the Faculty of Information. She previously studied English and Jewish Studies with a minor in History. Danielle studied abroad twice, in Jerusalem and Berlin, did a service learning course, and did a few work-study positions. Her favourite part of her undergrad was working at The Varsity, the campus newspaper. She was the editor-in-chief in her final year. She's passionate about good writing, student journalism, reading, knitting, long walks (on the beach or otherwise), and table tennis, which she insists she is very good at, though her friends may not agree. You can reach her on twitter @lifeatuoft over the summer if you want to chat!

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