Every student reaches a point in the semester where they begin to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated. I like to call this point the mid-semester slump. School work and other obligations begin to pile up and life becomes a lot more stressful. Assignments that once took 30 minutes to complete now take 3 hours as it gets harder to stay focused on what you’re working on.
Odds are that even in the midst of this slump, you still care about your grades and don’t want to let anyone down (including yourself). So despite being too stressed, too tired, and too overwhelmed to preform at your best, you push yourself to continue. Today I am sharing my best tips to help you through the mid-semester slump, not only so you survive the rest of the semester but so you thrive as well.
Odds are you have collected quite a bit of stuff since the beginning of the semester. I find that I am extra stressed when my space is cluttered and disorganized. Set aside some time to get rid of anything you don’t need or want anymore. This will help clear up some space in your room and help you feel like you have a fresh start.
Also go through your email inboxes and clear out any old emails you no longer need. Take some time to unsubscribe from any marketing newsletters you don’t care about as well. Again this will clear up some mental space for you and help you navigate the emails you actually need much easier.
Get Some Sleep
Getting some sleep might seem like the exact opposite of a solution to the mid-semester slump, but I promise it will help you. Most of the time sleep is the first thing to go when you are stressed. Odds are you’re staying up later to get the work done that you procrastinated on all day or you are continuing to procrastinate. I’m not suggesting that you drop everything and nap all day long, but make sure you are getting enough sleep. This will allow you to wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the next day.
Prioritize Your Work
It’s very common that we do a lot of little things that don’t really matter but make us feel productive. By the time we are done working on these tasks, we don’t have any motivation to focus on the things we actually need to get done.
Have a master list of things that you have coming up. I try to keep these things organized by date and importance. It is great to try and work ahead but often times that leads to forgetting about more current assignments or obligations. Additionally, if you take on too many responsibilities at once, you might find yourself even more burnt out and anxious than normal. It might also be beneficial to have smaller to-do lists to track progress so you’re not overwhelmed by everything at once.
Use The Work And Reward System
My favorite way to be productive when I’m in the mid-semester slump is to use the work and reward system. Before I start a task, I think of a reward that will help me through it. These rewards could be anything from hanging out with friends, playing with my pup, or even taking a nice bubble bath. The trick is to think of rewards that you will be looking forward to enough to pull you through each task. For tasks that are less desirable or take extra effort, I plan even better rewards. The most important aspect of this system is self-control. Stick to the amount of time/tasks that you have planned before you reward yourself. Otherwise you are creating bad habits for yourself.
I don’t know about you, but being inside all the time makes me stir crazy. Give yourself a little break each day to be outside. I set aside time every day to walk my puppy as my outside activity. Another great option is to take your studying outside. Find a quiet grassy area and take in your surroundings for a little bit! Soaking up some Vitamin C will do you good!
Re-Evaluate Your Commitments
When everything is fun and fresh at the beginning of the semester, we tend to jump into a lot of things. In my first semester of college I joined student government, youth mentoring, and got a job. While it didn’t seem like that much at first, by the middle of the semester I was overwhelmed and stressed out. I felt like I never had any time to do anything. So I took a step back and looked at everything I was involved in. This helped me see what was a priority and allowed me to find my spare time and be more productive overall.
The mid-semester slump can be a major test of our mental and physical health. Even in the times where you feel like there is no end in sight, I encourage you to power through. Using the tips above, I fully believe that you will be able to come out on top every semester!