The 5 best TED Talks to break you out of your February slump

If you’ve been feeling tired, unmotivated, and kind of blue this month, you’re not alone. The cold, dreary month of February is tough for many, especially those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. The holidays are long gone. It’s too cold to go out for a run. And mustering up the energy to get anything done may seem impossible. 

Luckily, breaking out of your February funk is not impossible. We’ve collected five of the best TED Talks to put the wind back in those sails and get you motivated. Whether it’s trouble sleeping, lack of exercise, or just a general feeling of winter-time ennui, these TED talks tackle many of the health and wellness issues that seem to come to a head in late winter. 

1) Jeff Iliff: ‘One more reason to get a good night’s sleep’

The lack of natural light during the wintertime can do a number on your circadian rhythms. If your sleep schedule is out of whack, then it’s likely that’s played a major role in your February blues. Neuroscientist Jeff Iliff’s TED Talk serves as a gentle reminder of how crucial a good night’s rest is for your brain. 

2) Emily Balcetis: ‘Why some people find exercise harder than others’

If dragging yourself to the gym every day seems like a chore, it might not be your fault. Social psychologist Emily Balcetis delivers useful insights into how our perception of a goal can transform it into an obstacle. Balcetis cites previous research in internal biases and how they work against us. She ultimately offers a new way to view your goals so you’ll make the finish line. 

3) Amy Webb: ‘How I hacked online dating’

Some singles may feel inspired to take a stab again at online dating, especially in aftermath of Valentine’s Day. The author of Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match took a data-driven approach to finding a match online. Whether you’re an online dating novice or are jaded by too many bad first dates, you’ll certainly benefit from Amy Webb’s re-telling of how she successfully “hacked” her online dating profile.

4) Carol Dweck: ‘The power of believing that you can improve’

It’s frustrating to reach a stumbling block when working toward your goals. Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck looks at what kind of mindset successful people have in common. Dweck sheds light on what it means to have a “growth mindset” and how it can work wonders for how solving problems and overcoming obstacles. 

5) Andy Puddicombe: ‘All it takes is 10 mindful minutes’

Meditation expert Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk on the power of guided meditation should be required viewing for anyone stuck in a cold weather schlump. Puddicombe’s widely successfully 2013 TED talk on the restorative power of “doing absolutely nothing” for 10 minutes a day spawned a celebrity following and the Headspace meditation app. Puddicombe’s talk delves deeper into why a daily timeout is essential for our entire well-being. 

Photo via Jeffrey/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Amrita Khalid

Amrita Khalid

Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.