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The Gatepost Editorial: Embracing the chill

By The Gatepost Editorial Board

Hello fellow Rams, and welcome back to Framingham State!

It's a cold start to the semester, so this week, The Gatepost editorial board discussed ways all of us can keep healthy both physically and mentally during these long winter months. 

Low temperatures and short days, plus the stress that comes with returning to school, sometimes make it difficult to focus or be productive. However, it’s important to start the semester off on the proverbial right foot even in bad weather.

A good strategy for all students to start with is to keep busy. Whether it’s getting a head start on course readings or even just tidying up your room, taking action is a great way to make progress that can carry into your academic and personal life.

It’s also important to keep a healthy state of mind and to avoid overworking. 

This can be accomplished by creating and sticking to a schedule that makes you responsible for your goals, and ensuring your academic performance is what you want it to be.

Another great way to stay on top of things is to make lists. While lists are easy to make, following them can pose a challenge, but they are effective at tracking accomplishments and goals over time.

You can also create physical or digital calendars, which help prevent anything from sneaking up on you and keep you ahead of all your responsibilities. 

Finding productive indoor activities is another critical skill to maintain your well-being during the winter months.

On-campus resources dedicated to maintaining a good mental state include the Center for Inclusive Excellence, which frequently hosts events and programming related to identity and belonging. 

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, failing to build a sense of belonging during a person's developmental stages can lead to a “lower self-esteem, a more negative worldview, … [and] a perception of rejection.”

Additionally, if you are interested, you can visit on-campus religious mentors through the campus ministry to connect with your spirituality.  The ministry offers Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, and Muslim mentors, all of whom can be a great resource for connecting with your faith.

If you need a moment to unwind and relax, you can visit the Rams Renew Space located in the Upper Mezzanine of the Henry Whittemore Library. 

This space was designed to “destress for success” and features a massage chair, a Verilux Happy Light for light therapy, an Expresso bike, hands-on activities, meditation cushions, and yoga mats, according to the Framingham State website. You can reserve the room for 15, 30, or 45 minutes, which is helpful for resetting.

The counseling center also provides resources on diverse topics pertaining to mental health that can be accessed for free by any student. Because sometimes you just need to talk it out.

To improve physical well-being, you do not have to jump into running or join a sports team. It could start with taking the stairs when you usually take the elevator, taking a walk around campus with your friends, or using the stationary exercise bike in the library to move while you work on homework. 

You could also walk on the treadmills in the athletic center while listening to music or your favorite podcast - of course, free of charge. 

If you are looking for something with a little more of a kick to it, the Athletic Center also offers free group exercise classes Monday through Thursday. These include yoga and Zumba on Mondays, cycle, core and stretch, and power yoga on Tuesdays, yoga and Zumba on Wednesdays, and power yoga on Thursdays. 

With classes starting at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., this is another great way to get exercise despite the chilly weather.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Students experienced a reduction in stress and anxiety levels after completing a six-week yoga and meditation program preceding final examinations. Results suggest that adopting a mindfulness practice for as little as once per week may reduce stress and anxiety in college students.”

You could also join clubs on campus to improve your physical well-being such as the Outing Club, the Dance Team, the Afro-Caribbean Dance Group, the Ski and Snowboard Club, and the Martial Arts Club. All offer ways to bring more movement into your life alongside other students.

In any case, maintaining control of your mental and physical health is crucial to having an enjoyable winter and a successful semester. 

Whether you prefer to work on your well-being alone with a new studying strategy, or with peers in a spin class, there are always methods to improve your physical or mental well-being. 

Succeed as a student by meeting your goals. Commit yourself to finding the perfect balance between coursework and your personal life, even if it takes time.

So while the winter weather makes it hard to do your best, remember - get your work done, but get some sleep too.


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