Ask Alyssa: Year 2, Edition 3

I have been beating myself up lately because of grades and failed relationships and it is keeping me from staying motivated. What is your advice on staying motivated through times of difficulty in the semester?

Seasons or “slumps” of sadness are an inevitable reality of life.  Regardless of the circumstances that led to the slump, my answer to cope and stay motivated remains the same.  However, I think every person finds their own path to motivation and personal success so I will draw from my personal experience and try to encourage you to find yours.  

I’m sure you’ve heard all of the cliches about dancing in the rain and playing in the sand, but there is so much truth to them.  Overcoming seasons of sadness is much less about what external circumstances brought you to this and more about what you can control and how you cope as the season passes.  To stay motivated, first and foremost, remind yourself that this season WILL pass.  So rather than try and fix everything, try and relax and work on your contentment as time passes.  This means clearing your brain of fog.  A helpful resource to eliminate brain fog is a program by Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan called, “Vital Mind Reset”.  Take advantage of the internet/social media and find something right for you. Staying motivated during difficult times throughout the semester comes down to balancing time for yourself, your responsibilities and your relationships.  

I once helped out at a retreat for college students and was asked on a panel how to deal with the “darkness” that sometimes overcasts college campuses and I think my answer applies here.  I shared that a lot of the times us, as college students in America, have had so many things handed down to us that we don’t realize what we’re taking for granted.  We all have problems, failures, etc. so it’s easy to be down, dark and unmotivated.  Perhaps looking outward instead of inward can really help us in situations like this.  Sure we may have failed an exam, but life is much bigger than each grade we get and maybe our friend is having some family problems and needs ears to listen.  Maybe our latest romantic relationship ended poorly, but heading to the nearest city and sharing a warm meal with a homeless person sleeping on the side of the street reminds us that love is more than romance.  This is never to undermine your problems, but rather to put them in perspective.

 

What are some ways to self-love that I can do during the week to stay focused on myself and my studies?

    I’ll keep this brief because self-love isn’t something to overthink! It’s pretty simple.  For myself, writing helps a lot so I would make lists.  What are some qualities you have that you are proud of? Write them down.  What are some successes you’ve made recently? Write them down.  What are some realistic goals you have for the near future (today, this week, this month)? Right them down.  What are some insecurities you have? Write them down… then rip up the piece of paper.  Be sure that you are emphasizing and loving who you are and not just how you look or portray yourself to others.  Write compliments and stick them on your mirror.  What’s the best way to love yourself? By spreading love to others; not for praise or acceptance but to see the smile on their face.