With only one month left in the first year of my PhD, the “summer break” is very near and very distracting. I find myself getting easily distracted by plans in the summer (and by plans I mean more work and reading). I am needing extra help to stay focused and motivated to finish up my first year.
But most importantly, I don’t want to rush through this last month and let it pass me by either. I truly love the work that I do, I just am figuring out how to better manage it all. I want this last month to be useful, enjoyable, mindful and reflective. So, I have been incorporating more mindfulness practices in order to help me enjoy my last month in my first year. I hope you can find some motivation from these tips as well.
10 Mindfulness Tips For Motivation
This first tip is so simple yet so easy to forget. It’s so simple you might even be frustrated reading it as the first tip. But trust me on this – your breath connects you to your mind, body, and soul. Especially during difficult or stressful situations, we are more likely to hold our breath. It takes practice to tune into it but it can become an amazing tool to bring you back to the present moment.
Meditating has changed my life for the better. And I don’t want to hear any excuses, all you need is five minutes out of your day to implement this one! Hit up youtube for easy meditation guides or download apps like Headspace or Calm. These apps are a great way if you are just beginning to incorporate meditation into your day.
3. Stretch at your desk
Have a long list of readings to get through? Try switching it up by standing up while reading at your desk or using your desk and chair as props to stretch. Here are some moves to get you started.
4. Better yet, take a time out for yoga
If you can squeeze it into your day, or even just once a week, making time for yoga is an excellent way to incorporate mindfulness and bring you back to a place of calm to kickstart your motivation. The benefits of yoga are bountiful – clearing your mind, moving your body, tuning into your breath, scanning and listening to your body… the list goes on…
5. Go for a walk
If yoga isn’t your thing or if you want some variety, try going for a walk. Move that body, get outside, get some fresh air and vitamin D. This active break can help bring you back to a place of motivation – oh and leave your phone at home!
I like to start my day off with this tip. The first thing that I do when I wake up in the morning, even before my feet hit the ground, is thinking of three things I am grateful for. I don’t write them down and sometimes they are the same things as the day before. But this starts my day off with a positive place for a productive day ahead.
Along the same lines, I tend to need help maintaining a positive mindset throughout the day. An e-mail comes in with revisions on a paper or I encounter a difficult reading that I can’t seem to get through and all of a sudden I am set back. Having mantras on post-it notes beside my desk helps me maintain a positive mindset. Here are a few of my go-tos right now:
Relax. Release. Surrender
You get what you focus on
Now don’t get any crazy ideas, I am not giving you the go-ahead to over-eat or over-drink. But don’t feel guilty to treat yourself to that $7 bottle of kombucha, a glass of wine or something your body is craving. The point is to not go overboard – it’s all about balance. If you are craving a donut, get a donut, appreciate the donut, take time eating the donut and perhaps even share it with a friend. Once you get it out of your system, not only have you treated yourself to something nice, but now you are able to focus on the task at hand!
9. Set an intention
Have a busy day ahead with a full to-do list? Set an intention for your day. Is there one major thing that you want to get done and if you accomplish it you will feel much better? Or is there one thing that you would like to get out of your day? These intentions don’t need to be monumental. They can be simple too. For instance, your intention for the day could be “let’s have some fun today”. Or your intention could be centered around your confidence, spending time with family, or accomplishing that chapter in your thesis. This could be part of your daily routine, weekly or monthly. Mini intentions or goals can help you stay focused and motivated.
10. Listen to your body
What all of these tips have in common is tuning into your body, mind, and soul. Take a minute to stop what you are doing and listen, truly listen to what it’s telling you. Is it telling you to get to bed? Then do it! Is it telling you to draw? Then take some time out to doodle.
Make space to be, rather than do.
What are some mindfulness techniques that you use to increase your motivation?
If you want me to dive deeper into any of these tips – let me know! I could write a whole post on each of them.
Until next time,
P.S Don’t forget to use #ScholarCulture #ScholarSquad #ScholarSunday to keep me updated on your experiences as grad students.
P.P.S Applying to grad school for the 2019/20 school year? Check out this FREE eBook on 5 steps to a successful grad school application. Are you in grad school and struggling to find easy lunches to bring to campus? Check out three FREE recipes and full nutritional information here.