Life&Style editor Tara Kergon shares some advice on how to avoid a post-graduation slumpWritten by Tara Kergon on 18th April 2018
How To Stay Motivated Over Easter
As post-Easter exams approach, Life and Style's Jess Howlett shares her tips on how to remain motivated over Easter
Motivation is tricky. In some ways you could compare it to your typical university student’s lecture attendance – sometimes it’s there bright, early and ready-to-go the whole day, and other times it decides not to show up at all. When pressed with deadlines and a heaving to-do list, it’s not ideal when your motivation decides to pack it in for the day pretty early on, leaving you to rely on a borderline unhealthy coffee intake to keep you going.
There are so many reasons for lack of motivation that are often beyond our control, but when motivation evades you it’s easy to feel guilty or lazy. The important thing to remember is everyone’s brain is different, and people get their energy and motivation in different ways and at different times, and people’s motivation levels are affected differently. Sometimes you do need to listen to your brain screaming to have a break from the pressures you are putting on yourself, and perhaps try again at the task another day. At the same time, sometimes you just need some sort of motivation wand to whip you into shape.
With the Easter holidays fast approaching, and the pressures of revision and deadlines looming ahead, here are a few ‘wands’ that I find useful myself when I need to find that little boost to power through the day and give me a breath of fresh, motivation-filled air:
Clean and Tidy
A lot of the time, a lack of motivation can come from a lack of direction and a feeling of disorder. Therefore, having a declutter - mentally or physically – can do a world of good to fight that motivation-stealing-monster. When it comes to mental decluttering I tend to try to compartmentalise, which is basically just sorting your thoughts into separate ‘files’ in your head and deciding which ones have priority and deserve your time the most at that moment. I help myself with this through making lists of the different tasks I have and making a mini-schedule of when they will happen. This helps your brain to calm and focus itself, as once you have sorted all your thoughts and know when they will be dealt with, you don’t need to worry as you know that they are going to get sorted. Physical tidying of your workspace or your computer files also greatly helps with this mental tidying. Although it is cliché, the phrase ‘tidy place, tidy mind’ really rings true. It makes it a lot harder to organise your thoughts when you are surrounded by disorganisation. The simple act of actually physically putting items in their place can help your brain to put its thoughts in order.
A Little Self-Love Never Hurt Anyone
Looking the part can really help you feel the part. Sure, some days you just want to scrape your hair up and tackle a piece of work from the comfort of your joggers, and that can work. However, on other days I notice that when I feel like I’ve put my outfit or my make-up together well I really feel myself focus and play the part. Even just taking a break in the middle of the day to paint your nails, style your hair or give yourself a mini-facial can give you a whole new burst of energy and make you feel like you’ve really got yourself together. It’s like putting on a costume and playing the part, even if you’re struggling for motivation that day sometimes you’ve just got to fake it til’ you make it, and pretending you feel together and dressing the part can sometimes just become reality.
Kill the Hangry
This is a major one. In case anyone is not aware, the official name for hunger induced anger is called hanger. It makes you hangry. 99% of the time, if I’m feeling unmotivated and I’m hungry at the same time, as soon as I fix that hunger the motivation really steps up. It makes sense really, how is your brain supposed to work it you don’t feed it? Try and eat things that are filling so you don’t just keep breaking concentration to snack. I am a huge culprit of using snacking as a way of ‘guilt-free’ procrastination, but the best thing to do is give yourself a proper meal that is going to give you the energy to work through the day’s agenda.
Words Are Your Tools
Quotes aren’t for everyone, but if like me you are a lover of words and quotes, they can really help with your motivation levels. Pinterest is an absolute goldmine for quotes about anything you want, and if you just type in ‘motivational quotes’ in the search bar, you’ll get a huge selection to choose from. I followed my friend’s example and went so far as to create a board specifically for motivational quotes. Now, whenever I’m needing a quick shot of motivation, I have a little collection of my favourite quotes all in one place. One of my personal favourites is ‘You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.’
Power of People
Last, but not least, the importance of the people around us. This is something I’ve really noticed since being at university. I am someone who is very affected by the people around me and this especially comes into play with my levels of motivation. Two of my very good friends are very motivated, pro-active people – one of them gave me the Pinterest tip – and when I am around them I really feel myself become more motivated. The same way, when I am around people who are not feeling as motivated, I feel my own motivation go down. This probably isn’t the best thing but hey ho it’s the way I am, and therefore I have to try and use it to my advantage. The best way I’ve found to do this is, when I’m feeling unmotivated, I watch one of my favourite vloggers going about their own day and being proactive, and it often makes me feel better and ready to get on in my own life.
But finally, my most important tip, make sure you allocate yourself time to relax and unwind in between the hard-work, as this is just as important as staying motivated to do the work in the first place!