Winter is leaching me of my creative juices

Foil lit under a blue light.
Winter got me seeing all shades of blue

If ever we had to designate a time of the year that made people feel the most "BLAH," it would be around now. The dreary weather and post-holiday lull make for a very uninspiring landscape that certainly do not help to foster creativity. I too fall prey to the monotony that is the mid-winter blues. (Is it even mid-winter? Realistically, has it even been a true winter this year? Are we feeling the ramifications of global warming? All good questions). Feeling like a sad, deflated, grey-tinged marshmallow, I can get really unmotivated to deal with work and school - which can be quite problematic at the start of a new semester. However, I have a few tricks to try and inspire creativity and productivity: 

A mural on the side of a building saying "This is paradise." The ground is covered in snow and the sky is particularly grey and bleak
And here we have a marvelously ironic photo taken on a particularly cold Toronto day

1. Reading and drawing. One of my 2016 goals was to start drawing more. Which is a plan that may have backfired as I tend to now spend a significant chunk of class time doodling rather than taking notes. But these two hobbies really do help get my mind off of things. I get immersed into whatever I’m reading or drawing, taking on a semi-meditative state. And similarly to the effects of meditation, I usually feel calmer and more put-together after I’m finished. Just designating 15-30 minutes to a leisurely activity that you enjoy really helps with recollection and focus.

A magazine and sketchbook laid out on my desk

2. Explore a new space. Whether this be a new restaurant, cafe, library, or art gallery, I quite like finding cool places to settle myself into. Recently I went to the Come Up To My Room 2016 exhibit at the Gladstone Hotel, featuring the replica of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom that’s been popping up all over social media. As one of my all-time favourite movies, this was a childhood dream come true. Atmosphere and the vibe of the room I'm in really determine how productive I'm going to be. Exploring new spaces keeps things interesting amidst a dismal season. And with Winterlicious coming up, this would be a great opportunity for everyone to try a new place to eat! Is there anything so motivating as a beautifully-assembled plate of pureed vegetables?

A replica of Ferris Bueller's room including the dummy he uses in his room and posters on his wall
#CUTMR2016 @ The Gladstone Hotel

3. Making lists.

  • I am a notorious list-maker.
  • Bullet-point systems are just a fantastic invention.
  • When I’m feeling overwhelmed with work or just unmotivated to do anything, making to-do lists helps immensely.
  • I can get a concrete look at all the things I need to do and can start off by checking off the easier, smaller tasks that I can handle.
  • The satisfaction of just checking something off a to-do list really inspires further productivity.

4. Discover new music. The second-best invention to bullet point systems is Spotify. Music-streaming websites have really upped my music collection. When I’m feeling down, finding a new artist to listen to is quite therapeutic. I guess it’s related to the fact that I’m trying something new and also immersing myself within an experience. I tend to gravitate towards songs with long-winded, atmospheric vibes during the winter. I’ve uncovered this EP between one of my favourite artists Chet Faker and Marcus Marr.

Are you also feeling kind of blah, U of T? What do you do to combat the winter blues? If you’re planning on trying something new on campus - whether an eatery, library, club, event - let us know on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and use the hashtag #TryItUofT so we can share it with fellow students!

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