If the end of summer blues are getting down and it is taking every ounce of energy to pull it together and work on that research paper, study for that upcoming quiz or get started on that assigned reading, below are some strategies to help overcome motivational obstacles:
· Prior to beginning to study, engage in an activity that you enjoy such as taking a brisk walk, going to a yoga class or listening to upbeat music.
· Engage in a creative hobby that doesn’t take up too much time. If drawing or doodling ignites your creative energy, participating in something creative may help inspire you to tackle that long list of homework assignments.
· Create a clutter-free space to work in. Set a timer and give yourself 5-10 minutes to clear all of the unnecessary paper, mail and books out of your way in an effort to create an efficient work space. Less clutter helps to promote better focus and less distractibility.
· Create a medley of uplifting music. Whatever your preference, whether it’s 80’s music, country or broadway tunes, keep this upbeat music handy as a motivational tool to lift your spirits and increase your energy.
· Look for ways to laugh. Laughter is known to boost mood and promote relaxation. Whether it’s a silly card from a friend or family member, a funny joke or TV show, keep a “laughter file” that contains your favorite jokes and sayings or clips of TV episodes that made you laugh. Call on these resources when you are feeling stressed and need to lighten the mood before you study.
· Add your favorite colors to your décor. Certain colors can spark a feeling of tranquility (i. e., blue and green) or excitement (i. e., oranges and reds). If you notice that your mood feels more positive in response to a particular color or shade, use that color in the everyday objects you access like a coffee mug, a bath mat or a comforter. If you have the time and plan on redecorating, pick colors for your chair and desk that enhance these positive moods.
· Stay hydrated and eat snacks that balance a protein with a carbohydrate such as almond butter and crackers, trail mix with dried fruit or oatmeal with skim milk. Also, rather than reach for a soda or a glass of fruit juice with contains an abundance of sugar, replace it with a glass of water with lemon; believe it or not, staying hydrated is a great way to stay energized for challenging tasks and doesn’t produce the “crash-like” aftereffects of sugary beverages.
· Stretch your muscles to enhance circulation. Identify the areas where your muscles are stiff and research some appropriate stretching exercises so that you don’t feel sore while sitting for long periods during study time. It would be a good idea to incorporate stretching exercises after every 30 seconds that you are sitting.
· Appeal to your senses by identifying a natural scent that motivates and inspires you like your favorite tea, a flower, a scented candle or aromatherapy oils which you can purchase at any health food store. Incorporate some deep breathing exercises as a way to enhance the “relaxation effect” that the scent induces.
· If all else fails and that motivational roadblock is too stubborn to break through, start over. Change into some comfortable clothes or a colorful shirt that makes you smile; have a brief conversation with a good friend, read an article that grabs your attention, talk to distant relatives that you are close with. Incorporate those things that bring you comfort and joy so that when you approach that looming assignment, you do so feeling relaxed and exhilarated.
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