Let’s get back to business.

Well, the stockings have been put away, the ornaments are back in storage, and all the twinkly lights have been taken down (except for that one house on your block that leaves them up all year for some reason).

I don’t know if it’s just me, but every year, it feels like the winter semester sneaks in and sucker-punches me in the face before I even have a chance to sweep up the New Year’s Eve confetti. It’s not easy getting back into the swing of things while still working off your annual gingerbread hangover, so here are six ways to make the first couple of weeks back in class a little more bearable:

1. Get prepared

gif of a character from Stephen Spielberg's 2002 film "minority report" saying "we need to be ready"

The best way to get back into your school groove is to…not have to get back into your school groove! In other words, the earlier you can start mentally preparing for the weeks to come, the better. For example, it’s helpful to go over the course outlines for your new classes before the first day. Or, you could try committing to a regular sleep schedule in the days before class begins, so that first crack-of-dawn wake-up doesn’t feel like a Mike Tyson uppercut.

2. Make a schedule

DIpper from Disney's Gravity Falls writes on a clipboard

The beginning of a new semester means being suddenly slammed with a to-do list longer than a Walmart receipt. But, by keeping track of all your responsibilities in a personal schedule, you can easily ensure you don’t miss anything. Using your phone to set reminders is great, but writing down your schedule on a piece of paper or in a planner is even better! That’s because studies have shown that writing things down by hand improves your ability to retain the information. So, not only will keeping a schedule help you feel like a total boss, but making that schedule will help you remember everything you need to get done! Hello, two birds one stone! If you need an agenda, pop by an IGNITE office to pick one up for free.

3. Meal prep

Homer Simpson from The SImpsons pours a bowl of cereal that bursts into flames

The last thing you’re going to want to do after a long day of class is make dinner. However, food delivery apps aren’t cheap, and you can only eat ramen noodles so many times before your body starts crying for a vegetable. Spending an hour whipping up some workweek lunches before your week begins will help you stay full, focused, and fit to handle whatever challenges the new year throws at you. Check out our article featuring 5 mouthwatering recipes from Antoni Porowski’s new cookbook for some meal prep ideas that are easy, delicious, and totally Queer Eye-approved!

4. Plan some “you” time

Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation tells Tom Haverford to "treat yo self".

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re suddenly hit with a full schedule. And, it’s even easier to fall into the trap of running yourself ragged trying to stay on top of all your new projects. But, taking time for yourself is vital to make sure you stay killing it both in class and on campus. Did you know taking short breaks throughout the day has been proven to reduce the risk of depression, increase productivity, and even improve your heart health? Plus, having some relaxation to look forward to always makes the day a little easier to digest. Make self-care the motto this semester!

5. Download some new tunes

Spongebob Squarepants listening to music through headphones and snapping his fingers.

Impossible to get out of bed? Play some of your favourite music. Got a long commute? Listen to music! Trying to get some assignments done between classes but the person next to you has literally packed every crunchy snack in existence? Drown ’em out with music, my friend. Seriously, something about listening to music makes even the most difficult tasks feel manageable. That’s not just an opinion, either! There’s been tons of research done on how playing music at work increases your creative ability and improves your mood. So, be sure to set off on that first day of class armed with plenty of motivational jams.

6. Give yourself time to adjust

Carlotta Brown from Fox's "Star" tells another character to "take it slow".

“Haste makes waste.” “Slow and steady wins the race.” “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Okay, you get it. But seriously, there’s a reason there are so many sayings about taking your time. You can’t expect to get to the top of your study game in the first few days after the break. Not only that, forcing yourself to make drastic changes in your routine is incredibly unsustainable. Instead, focus on taking small, achievable, realistic steps toward adjusting to the rhythm of the new semester. Be kind and patient with yourself, and before you know it, you’ll be right back into the groove of your daily grind. “Good things come to those who wait!”

Want more out of this semester? Join one of IGNITE’s clubs and associations!

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