As a student who is coming up to deadline season, the necessity to be productive increases, and the desire decreases. Everything we do that is not related to reading, research or writing wracks our body with guilt. I for one, find it very hard to relax. In my mind, above my eye line in the back of my forehead, is a permanent tattoo of what I have to do. I can’t ignore it, and it hovers constantly in the peripherals of any good time I am having.
The guilt increases, the motivation decreases.
I have been asking constantly: “Do you guys have, like, no motivation at the moment?” My friends lean over the pub table and they say: “I haven’t started anything yet. My motivation is gone!” Secretly, we all breathe a sigh of relief, united in the fact that we are all messes.
For students, it is made worse by online teaching. There are no confused faces in seminars telling us that we are not alone, only teams meetings with black, stark tiles with initials on. A flurry of emails replace quick corridor chats.
There is no supportive thumbs up, or nod. Only email after email with link after link.
How Do we Support Our Motivation?
Motivation feels like a flying bird: in your eye line for a second, and then gone forever more. I think a great way to find motivation to work, for me, is yoga (are you even surprised?). I lay my mat out the night before, and I try to make it one of the first things I do in the morning. For some reason, stretching my body, feeling it move under me, makes me feel like I can do everything I need to that day.
I understand that yoga is not for everyone, but what I hope you’ll take away from this is that perhaps your version of yoga is just a restful, peaceful breakfast. Watching a Ted Talk before you sit down at your table. Calling one of your family. Or maybe even its just stretching your arms down to your toes and up to the sky.
Another thing I do, is take regular breaks. I might water my plants, go to the gym, stretch my legs, watch a show or make food.
Think of it as a moment to sharpen your focus on yourself before you direct it out to the wider world. This is crucial, in my opinion, before you dedicate vast swathes of your day to your To-Do list.
You have got this!