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  • Writer's pictureAbbey Orr

Maintaining Motivation and Managing Stress

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

As we are wrapping up the semester, we all know what it is like to 'Press Forward with Steadfastness' through the remaining assignments, projects, and tests. Especially now more than ever as we are at home and faced with new challenges to stay motivated and productive. Also, amidst the fear and anxiety we have all been facing, sometimes our homework feels trivial or adding undue stress. Remember, as we press forward we will 'Receive His Name and Rejoice in His Light'. Here are some tips from the McKay School Student Ambassadors who want to help you!

1. Write it Out

I don't know about you, but nearing exams and the end of the semester I easily get nervous and pile up all the things I have to do, and in turn I dread doing school work. Not to mention, they are all very important assignments that are weighted heavily. Something that has always helped me is to write out all of things things I have to do, and then next to it put when they are due. Once I have done that, I label each thing as Essential, Nice to do, or Non-essential. Doing this eliminates the weight that everything must be done that day, and I shift my focus on what I can do rather than what I can't do. I also tend to put everything in a planner, but if you don't have one even a sheet of paper labeled Monday-Saturday works just as well. Here, I will write what homework I will do each day of the week. I find that writing out a plan holds me to my assignments even more, and I get more done. Make it uncomplicated, and make sure it's something you'd actually want to do daily, every other day, or weekly. In the end you will be more motivated and less overwhelmed by what you have to do.

2. Talk to Loved Ones

When you're feeling unmotivated or stressed, it is always helpful to communicate with loved ones. Remember, too, that loved ones are not only your relatives and friends, but teachers as well! When feeling unmotivated and stressed, talking to people you trust can result in much needed advice and encouragement. Personally, talking things out with my husband or parents helps put things into perspective and eliminate the barriers I feel are in my way. Another person we forget to communicate to is ourselves... it sounds silly but journaling and laying out all your concerns helps give feelings of closure and perspective as well. If the purpose of motivation is to find what drives you to be productive, write those things down! This leads me to the next tip:

3. Make Goals

This is a combination of tip #1 and #2, but writing out goals has been found to increase motivation immensely. Along with writing our concerns, writing out goals is a powerful motivational tool. Something that I took away from my STDEV 109 class, with professor Noelani Porter, was to make small goals that lead you down the path to BIG GOALS. Whether you communicate these goals with your loved ones or write them down and put them on your fridge, be accountable.

When you write goals, include why you want to reach that goal so that when you look at the goal you jog your memory of why it is so important. Make your goals meaningful so you want to reach them. This practice has followed me through my college career, and most likely my beyond when I become a teacher. Making small daily goals provides daily successes that in turn make me feel more productive, less stressed, and more motivated. Most importantly, though, if you maybe don't meet every goal you have set for yourself don't beat yourself up or be too critical. There is no better way to destroy motivation than to focus on what you're not doing than why you have been doing.

4. Relax and Take a Break

I bet you weren't expecting this, but I am a big advocate for break taking. The last thing you need to do is overwork yourself with tasks. Of course too much of anything is probably not good, so don't weaken yourself with too many things nor too many breaks. You cannot give from an empty cup, so occasionally take time to fill your cup. Maybe you can be like me and schedule your breaks, which may be a little too over the top, or just take them as they come. Just remember to be proactive and mindful about the times you treat yourself. This is also a great practice to do in your future classroom as a teacher by the way. Some examples include: exercise, a snack, writing, listening to music, taking or looking at pictures, talking to a loved one (tip #2), cleaning, looking at goals, making goals, drawing, anything that makes you feel happy and centers you. I didn't put Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, or Social media in this list because unfortunately they potentially lead to a shift of focus and loss of motivation. These are really good rewards for when you finish though!!

These are just some tips to help you in the last couple weeks because we have all been there and are currently there. Also, with all the changes that have happened this semester, I'm sure we've all been in spots where the last thing we are thinking about is school. But, now is the time to get on track and stay motivated. You got this! Remember to think about yourself and what you need to do for you; it may be these tips or it may not, as long as you do things that help YOUR motivation! Press forward, onward, and upward!

If you are looking for potential activities to do at home that also relate to teaching, reference our blog post about teacher movies or free resources teachers are using for their students! If you are interested to see how teachers all around the country are adapting their classroom to online instruction, read this! Lastly, if you have questions about any questions regarding the McKay school, majors, or events, contact the Student Ambassadors or the education advisement center.

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