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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

For Sanjana’s first article, she debates ‘motivation’ and its definition – as sometimes, especially as a student, it can be hard to keep yourself focused and continue working on your deadlines, when a day in bed seems like the only cure for your tiredness.

We’ve all had those days – I certainly have – where you wake up and you just want a day in bed. The idea of leaving that warm sanctuary to brave the cold (and darkening) days to get your jobs done sounds horrible. But of course, for a lot of us that are Type A, there’s one caveat with sinking into the comfort of our duvets – the guilt.

If you’re like me, you might beat yourself up about not waking up early enough or not getting enough done. You might be hard on yourself for not being efficient enough at the library. You might not give yourself permission to just sit, for one minute, with the feeling of maybe just being tired – instead, you might accuse yourself of being unmotivated. And then at the end of the day, you might return to your bed, and to the guilt once more.

What does it mean to be motivated?

Certainly not what I just described – falling prey to the vicious trap of toxic productivity is what you might say is not the healthiest way to live. While the pandemic and our numerous lockdowns have unfortunately been responsible for many adverse events, it definitely brought to light how we talk negatively to ourselves. “I want to be that girl” soon turns into “am I doing enough at all?”, and then self-doubt comes in for a cuddle with all that guilt.

As I lay there spiralling in my tornado of self-doubt, ranting to my parents on the phone, and asking myself for the 100th time why I signed up to do everything I do, I realised that I was just tired. That spiral reminded me that I had had no rest and that’s why I was actually overwhelmed. That night I turned my alarm off and slept. Naturally I woke up early, but I decided that it was okay to go back to bed. I lazily got up hours later, showered, made myself a delicious coffee, and headed over to the library. And I actually wanted to be there. I just had this feeling that everything would fall into place.

I don’t want to resent my degree, my extra-curricular activities, my social responsibilities…so I decided to let everything go. Every responsibility. I got to the library and put everything down in my calendar, and then put it away. I knew that at that moment, I just really wanted to work on my dissertation. So I did! When I felt hungry, I went home and cooked dinner with my housemate. When I wanted to relax, we all watched a Christmas film.

Taking it one day at a time when you’re overwhelmed really is the best way forward. I got some work done and also had a restful day, and all I did was listened to what I needed. Back to the basics – didn’t we all just do this as kids? Ate when hungry, slept when tired? Back to the basics, back to our habits.

It is easy to make time for our habits because those, that were once things we consciously made time for, are no longer exactly that. By listening to our own needs we are taking care of ourselves, and we are making that a habit.

To be motivated means to want to something, but to be disciplined – to use our habits as pillars – in not just our work but in our own self-care is what keeps us going! Making time for things we like doing, that we don’t necessarily have to be good at. Your bed can just be comfort and you can give yourself permission to lie in it.

Third year med student forever claiming she can handle her caffeine!
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