Beating the Winter Blues

By Marije Huging

During the last week of a UCR semester, my head usually feels strangely detached from my body, like a little homunculus living in an empty shell. This is what exams, presentations, and what seems like an endless array of papers (that I actually wrote in two days) feel like. During this time, in which darkness surrounds me, and I haven’t seen a living organism (next to my plant- which has sadly passed now) and my hamster, I imagine the light at the end of the tunnel. After I finish writing this essay, I think I will curl up in my sheets like a breakfast burrito, waiting for the cold to pass by. After I make this exam filled with information that is exclusively contained in short-term memory, I will have time to go through my list of all the movies I still need to watch, either because I think I´ĺl like them or l feel like I need to keep up. When the Christmas break starts and I have presented on my poster about sex robots for science & society, I think I will finally have time to do all the things I did not have time to do during the semester, see my friends, be creative, read all the classic works of Russian literature, and maybe finally get my body to do the splits.

Then, the winter break arrives, and instead of a new world opening and new motivation and lust for life seeping into my being, reconnecting mind and body, I tend to feel a bit empty. Sometimes, I get ill the week after the semester ends, and I usually have great trouble getting myself to do anything. Then, instead of creativity, a bunch of guilt seeps in for not doing all the things that I put on my ´fun to be had´ to-do list. Over time, I have discovered that this is a pretty toxic train of thought, which, if one thing, only keeps me from truly enjoying the breaks that I do have. The truth is that after a period of constant busyness, a person obviously needs to rest for a little while. I, however, have taken UCR´s ‘productivity’ mindset so far that every moment I try to rest, I instinctively feel like something is wrong. Not to blame UCR fully for this though, as in our culture, ´being busy´ almost seems to be some kind of status symbol.

This is why in this article,  I am not going to recommend you any books or movies or exhibitions to go to (also because we will see about this covid thingy). Instead, I encourage you to indeed curl up in your sheets after the semester ends like a breakfast burrito. Watch a few romantic comedies, read some easily digestible detective novels, maybe even do some light exercise. Either way, enjoy your break.

Happy holidays! xxx Marije


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