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Avoiding Summer Burnout: How You Can Stay Motivated

Lifestyle

The school year is over, and summer is finally here! At first, you may be overwhelmed with joy. I mean, you now have all the time in the world to kick back and relax, right? There are no more tests, homework, or assignments that require your attention.

But, resting and watching television all day can get old pretty fast. Soon, you begin asking yourself what you plan on doing all summer long. Maybe you need to begin studying for the SATs. Or maybe you're an artist who wants to strengthen your drawing skills. If you're determined to dedicate some of your break to pursuing your passions and achieving your goals, whatever they may be, it is fully possible. Getting back your motivation, though difficult, is crucial to having the summer that you want and hope for.

1. Understand your objectives

Identifying what you hope to achieve this summer is key to understanding what steps you need to take to get there. More importantly, having specific goals in mind will prevent you from procrastinating and putting off important tasks.

2. Set realistic goals

Your summer can be one where you both reach for your goals and enjoy yourself; there is no need to choose between the two. That said, when it comes to creating plans, it is wise to take into consideration the time you will spend with your friends and family, as well as on fun leisure activities. Your schedule can and should have room for both work and fun. A successful summer is a well-balanced one. Don't let your goals get in the way of enjoying your break.

3. Avoid overloading yourself

I'll admit that I'm guilty of sometimes piling too much on my plate, both during the summertime and the school year. But, in order to have a balanced, enjoyable summer, you must treat yourself kindly and with patience. At times, even as soon as I have crossed off the last task on my to-do list, I feel the pressing urge to do more. This mindset of constantly wanting to work yourself to exhaustion is a dangerous one, and something you definitely need to break this summer.

If you consider yourself caught in this toxic cycle, encourage yourself to always stop working once you finish your to-do list for the day. In other words, create boundaries between working towards your goals and having fun, because overloading yourself with too many responsibilities and tasks will inevitably result in burnout and a lack of motivation.

4. Make working fun

Now is the time to discover how you can make accomplishing your goals both efficient and enjoyable. The image of "working" in most people's minds is sitting hunched over a desk for hours on end, but there are several ways to truly enjoy getting things done. Let's say that there is a coffee shop nearby you've been wanting to try. You may decide to visit it and spend some time working there. Or, you may want to cross some tasks off your to-do list at your favorite bookstore. Staying productive and motivated is much easier when you love what you're doing.

5. Start every day by making a to-do list

Having vague ideas of what you want to accomplish on a given day is sometimes not enough. To ensure productivity, begin each day with a piece of paper and a pen in your hand. For some, simply listing the tasks they wish to accomplish is sufficient. However, for others, thinking more deeply about when they plan on doing each task and how long each task will take them is necessary.

While creating your to-do list, make sure to be reasonable with yourself. If you are certain that the number of tasks on your list will easily overwhelm you, postponing some of them for the following days is a smart choice. Feeling overburdened will only make staying motivated more difficult. Ultimately, you know yourself and what you can handle best.

6. Establish an enjoyable morning routine

In my eyes, a good day starts with a good morning. I have found that having a consistent morning routine gives me the motivation I need to have a productive and efficient time. Your regime can be as simple as waking up, getting ready, cleaning your room, and making breakfast. Or, it can include other activities, such as going for a walk or reading a few pages of the book you've been enjoying.

7. Take time to recharge

Throughout each day, it is so important to take time to recharge. Before you know it, the school year will start again and you will regret not having spent adequate time relaxing and enjoying yourself. Whether you feel calm and relaxed when swimming, exercising, baking, reading, or painting, do the things that bring you nothing but joy.

You can recharge in the most simple ways. After working at your desk for an hour, take ten minutes off to play with your dog. Or, take a break and make yourself a delicious snack. The littlest of things can make the biggest difference.

Regardless of what you hope to achieve, approaching the season in the right headspace, where you understand the importance of balance, is key. By taking your summer one day at a time and enjoying the present, there will be nothing in the way of you making this break a successful one.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore at Westridge School for Girls. She writes for her school newspaper, Spyglass, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider, and the Youth Civics Initiative. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.