Starting back up at school/work after summer can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. I am starting my fourth year of my undergrad and with that, there are lots of exciting things, yet I can’t help but find myself nervous for this year.

These nerves and negative thought patterns can quickly get in the way of motivation and hard work, so it is important to find ways to combat these negative emotions and make the best out of your situation… so here is how I escaped my funk and how you hopefully can too!

  1. Appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come. Whether you’re at your ‘end goal’ or just starting with no idea what’s ahead of you, do not forget all the things you have accomplished and overcome to get here. Find the parts of your job/program that you enjoy and make everything else revolve around that. For example, I enjoy organizing my mental and physical space, so doing so allows me to feel accomplished and more prepared to get to work.
  2. Set clear, obtainable goals. Make sure these goals are realistic and you make a plan to achieve them. This will allow you to feel accomplished when you reach those goals and boost your confidence. Examples of these goals can be finishing your daily to-do list, making time for exercise _ days a week, calling family and friends more often, or sticking to a skincare routine.
  3. Find a workspace that you feel calm in. This can be the library, a coffee shop, your desk, or anywhere else (but try to stay away from your bed to ensure you’re separating your relaxing space from your workspace). I like to work at my desk and organize it in a functional way that makes it more enjoyable. I like to have snacks, cute decorations and candles on my desk to make it feel more exciting.
  4. Take care of your brain. This can be done by ensuring a good work-life balance while also doing your best to eat healthy and get enough sleep. Your brain is the most important resource so taking care of it should be a priority! Don’t forget to take breaks when you need them to avoid overworking yourself and burning out.
  5. Reward yourself. Celebrate your achievements, whether that be a grade you received or for completing a hard task. Make sure to appreciate yourself as you would someone else.
  6. Seek support. It’s honourable to ask for support when you need it, and doing so allows you to get ahead in ways you otherwise couldn’t. Whether this be mental support from friends, family, a therapist, or academic support, people can assist when you need it.
  7. Stay inspired. Don’t lose yourself in your work. Make sure you have hobbies and activities that keep you happy. If not, pick up a new one! You can learn to knit, crochet, cook, or anything else simply on YouTube!
  8. Visualize success. This allows you to keep track of your goals and have confidence in yourself to reach them. You can visualize by making a physical vision board, a Pinterest board, or drawing things out.

It is important to implement good habits from the start to stay consistent with your work and goals. It is normal to have harder days and to feel down on yourself and your circumstances. What matters in these situations is how you talk to yourself and get back up. Take time to sit in your emotions without judgement and then find a way to regain that motivation and remind yourself of your why. You got this!