10 tips for staying motivated and recharged at university

Written by Deea Deb

I was once told that if you love what you’re doing, it will be easy to stay motivated. However, I’ve found that this statement is not always realistic. In my experience, a significant cause of demotivation is burnout. With coursework, volunteering, jobs and life stuff—all things we may love—it can get overwhelming pretty easily. But that doesn’t mean you need to quit everything! It only means you need to recharge and get back on track. 

This YUBlog post shares useful tips and tricks to stay motivated and mindfulness strategies that’ll help you recharge.  

Staying motivated

1. Build a doable routine 

Many of us think of routines as fitting as many tasks as we can into a day. While a routine can have two or three tasks, or sometimes more, the key is to make the routine work for you.  

For example, my routine has three items: plan the day first thing in the morning, exercise and sleep at 9 p.m. For me, this routine is doable every day because it doesn’t depend on the rest of my day. Instead, the rest of my day depends upon this routine.  

2. Try out new workspaces 

I often get disinterested when I work from home for a long time. Going to a new environment, like a coffee shop, elevates my mood (thanks to the coffee) and helps me focus better.  

Pro tip: Try working at one of York’s libraries for a quieter space. Check out our top five study spots at York for more ideas! 

3. Get an accountability partner 

Working with your friends or roommates can be fun and productive, too. Although sometimes it may become a distraction, having group work sessions on your lighter days allows you to get work done and have some social time with your friends. 

Staying recharged

It is important to take a break and recharge every now and then. Here are some strategies to help overcome feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. 

4. Solve a puzzle: Try one of those huge 3000-piece puzzles, Sudoku, crosswords or word searches. These may seem intimidating, but once you get into it, your mind lets go of all other things and helps you focus your energy on one thing—the puzzle.  

5. Take a walk: Nature hikes are a great way to de-stress. Head out to a park and explore winding trails among trees, flowers and woodland animals. 

6. Grow a plant: Whether you have a fully landscaped garden or a tiny plant on your desk, taking care of plants is an easy way to connect with the Earth. Turn off your phone, feel the soil, smell the air and take a slow, deep breath. Just thinking about this is making me calm! 

7. Get some sleep: We often think that sleeping is unproductive, but it’s one of the best ways to recharge. And if it helps you be more productive after, then it was time well spent.  

Here are some of my favourites.

8. InsightTimer: I personally like using InsightTimer because it offers music as a method of healing. Music has always had a huge impact on me, and it is no surprise that it helps me relax, focus and heal. 

9. Smiling Mind: This app asks you questions to provide customized mindfulness and meditation recommendations that suit your needs. 

10. Well-being & YU Podcast: From food for wellness, discussions on stress, community and meditations, this podcast has something for everyone.  

Don’t forget that you have access to York’s Student Counselling, Health & Well-being services. They offer a wide range of supports, from one-on-one and group counselling to workshops and other resources to help students manage their mental health and wellness.