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Somewhere between the excitement of beginning a new semester and the dread of finals week, almost all students can relate to that sluggish, demotivated, mid-semester slump. Whether you’re almost done with your semester (if your classes started early this year), or you still have several more weeks to go, here are some ways you can combat that uninspired mood that prevents you from doing any schoolwork. 

Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

The first thing that is sure to alleviate anybody of a poor mood is fresh air. Sometimes, while doing projects or studying for exams, students forget that they haven’t seen daylight outside of their rooms or the library where they’ve been holed up. Get out there! If the weather permits, go ahead and study outside. There are so many ways to get some air while you do work. If there are spots at any outdoor study areas on campus (or at home for commuters and online students), bring a snack, your books, and maybe a blanket to hit the books while also maintaining the clear focus that fresh air can provide for you. If you prefer to keep your studies inside, taking a walk is another amazing way to make sure you get some air. It might sound trivial, but seriously, the benefits of fresh air for your body and mind are incredible. So, if you find yourself in a stuffy room for hours, lacking motivation and feeling tired, remember that getting outside can boost your mood and help you to be more productive during this unproductive time.

gray and black laptop sitting on the grass
Photo by Picography from Pexels

Another great way to push through this slump is to really get your body moving. You’d be surprised what exercise can do for you when your mind just isn’t in it, and you feel like you need another nap. Moving your body (especially outside) can wake you up, leading to more productive days and less stress, since more productivity means less procrastination and waiting until the last minute to start all your work! The type and duration of exercise that will most benefit you is entirely up to you. For some, a quick yoga session is enough to refocus your mind, work your body, and put you back in the right mindset to get some work done. For others, maybe an intense workout will help to alleviate stress and pent-up tension that you’ve been harboring, sitting in your study room or behind your desk. And yet, still others may prefer a longer, more calm workout, like a long walk outside or on a treadmill while listening to music. However you decide to do it, move your body! Getting a workout in, no matter how it’s done, will also help to promote productivity. Accomplishing a workout is something you get to cross off your to-do list, making you feel like you are capable of getting things done, despite your current lack of motivation.

person stretching and exercising
Photo by Logan Weaver from Unsplash

This next piece of advice may seem pointless, but I promise you, it will significantly change your mindset and your mood. Meditating or journaling are some of the most important ways to stay in touch with your mind and your emotions, especially if you are struggling with getting things done or staying on track. By being mindful of how you feel through meditating or journaling about it, you can better assess what exactly is stressing you out, causing this lack of motivation, or preventing you from being happy in the present moment. Many people think that they don’t have time for these tasks, but let’s be real… So you don’t have time to meditate for 10 minutes, or to journal for 5, but you can watch a few hour-long episodes on Netflix instead of doing your assignments? It’s all about prioritizing your mental health and the academic success that you are more than capable of achieving! By spending time with your mind, thoughts, and emotions, you can get to the root of your problems and better understand how to get yourself back on track.

Photo by My Life Journal from Unsplash

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out. There are so many resources on campus to help students through these exact slumps, and they’ve helped so many students already! If you need further help assessing what’s holding you back from being productive or from finishing the semester off strong, it is never a bad idea to talk it through with someone. Maybe a new perspective will help you clear things up, get back on track, and start saying, “mid-semester slump who?”. You have the strength to get through all of your self-doubt and sluggish moods, so I sincerely hope you’ll take the first step in the right direction with one of these ideas!

Avery is a sophomore Economics major, with minors in Business and French, at Siena College. Naturally, being from Massachusetts, she’s a big fan of the Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots! Some of her favorite things include hiking and adventuring with her friends. Keep up with her adventures by following her on Instagram @avery_knous!
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