The student news site of Emmaus High School



The student news site of Emmaus High School



Half Orange: working through winter

Photo courtesy of Lopez.

This previously appeared in our February 2024 issue.

January has arrived and gone, swinging like a jackhammer, and I swear I haven’t seen the sun in a year. Winter is a miserable time and mental health plummets for obvious reasons – everything is cold and dark and terrible. So what do we do during these trying times? What can we do when everything is gray and the day passes in the blink of an eye? 

Post-holiday season, I tend to fall into a mental ditch. It can be hard to recover from the endless routine existence that is the month of January. Forcing myself to get up in the morning and do the same things I did yesterday but with less sleep and even less patience is a struggle, to put it lightly.

I know I’m not the only one. We all seem to suffer from this end-of-year burnout that carries on into the worst month of the year. We all seem to die with the flowers and the trees and reawaken with the blooms and birds. All we can do is hunker down until the weather warms and the snow melts. 

Well, I’ve been sticking out these winters for forever now and each year I find myself in a new ditch. Things happen and the world is not a perfect place, but we don’t have to just sit and endure this. My goal this year was to make the best of the worst.

I used to be a  stressed out person and who am I kidding? I am still a stressed out person who fiddles and tweaks every detail.

This year, I promised myself that I would cut myself some slack. I’m done stressing and worrying about things that won’t matter in a week or things that are entirely out of my control. Not everyone’s going to like me. Got it. Not every grade I get is going to be good. Fine. Not everything is going to work out. Alright. I’m still going to give my best, but without the pressure and self-sabotage, I’ve actually been better than ever. I’ve had my ups and downs this year – but not sweating the small stuff has actually changed my life.

Now coming to the start of the year, I was worried about the ditch that would knock me out of my stride. Instead of last year, I’m not just going to brace for impact – I’m going to relax and take it easy. Whatever happens, happens, right? Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s not as simple as that. Sometimes things that happen are really hurtful and damaging. The world opens you up and swallows you whole and it feels like the end of good times.

In those moments, I make sure to give myself a break. No one is more critical of me than myself, and I’m sure you could say the same thing about yourself. 

This year, I’m taking more breaks, giving myself more time, letting myself pursue hobbies and take pleasure in doing absolutely nothing – and it’s made a difference.

Living in this competitive world has made me forget how easy the worst challenges can be when I put my mental health first. This winter, I’m not going to be cold, sad, and miserable. I’m not going to let myself dwell in the ditch but turn it into something else entirely. Life can be miserable, but how could we enjoy the beautiful without it?

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About the Contributor
Bek Lopez
Bek Lopez, Managing Editor
Bek has been a part of The Stinger for three years. She is a part of the Astronomy Club, Theater Department, Debate Team, Hornet Ambassadors, and Collage. She enjoys writing, literature, and traveling.

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