What to do when you really don’t want to study.
I think we’ve all been there - the class is important and you know you need to study but when you sit down you end up feeling grOSS AND YOU don’t want to. So here are some tips to overcoming that:
Take a deep breath and reevaluate why you need to study. Try to stay positive.
- When I’m not motivated I keep saying things like “what if I just don’t do it?” And then - surprise! - I end up not studying and suffer/regret it later. When coming up with reasons to study, try to keep it positive. Don’t say things like “if I don’t study I’ll fail the class.” Instead, say things like “if I study, I have a better chance at doing well on the exam. Future-me will be so proud of current-me.”
- If you truly cannot find a single reason to study, set your studying aside for later and do another productive activity or take a long break.
Drill it into your mind that you really don’t need motivation to do well.
- Even if you find the reason to study,
that doesn’t necessarily mean you are very motivated. Sometimes we feel like no
motivation = unable to study. This isn’t true.
- Make a deal with yourself. Try studying
for ten minutes. And actually try to study. If by the end of ten minutes you
feel like you can continue studying, great! Keep going! If not, then you can
take a break and do something else.
Choose a study scheduling method that works for you.
- Some people feel great studying for
hours on end once they get in "the zone.” Others feel the need to
take quick breaks every half hour. Studying and scheduling methods are
different for everybody! Play around with scheduling to find out what works for
- In high-stress times, work (studying,
assignments, etc.) can feel pretty overwhelming. To organize all the stuff you
have to do, write it down! This takes some of the stress of remembering tasks
off from your brain, so that your brain can focus on the more crucial things.
- If you’re making a to-do list, keep the general list short. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by too many tasks. (You can keep sub-lists on separate paper/sticky notes to break down each task.)
- If you’re making a time-table, keep your schedule loose. Give yourself buffer time to complete each task, just in case you overestimated your efficiency.
- It’s totally okay to overestimate efficiency! - ifyou do, you learn more about yourself and how you study best.
Small (pomodoro) breaks
- Pomodoro technique in a nutshell: 25
minute blocks of working with 5 minute breaks in between. Feel free to change
the length of the blocks according to your preferences! During your breaks, you
- Get more water
- Get snacks
- Make tea/coffee
- Do a tiny bit of yoga
- Walk around the room/building
- Five-minute meditation
- Head massage
- Try to avoid looking at a screen. When
you look at a screen, you stimulate your brain and it won’t get its rest. Also,
the internet might suck you in and your break could last longer than intended.
- Sometimes I really really really really
reALLY don’t want to study. Or do anything. And I feel kind of gross and am on
the verge of a mental breakdown. If you feel this way, stop.
- Take a hella deep breath. And another
one. One more. Aaaaand one more just for good measure.
- Get away from your desk. I associate
desk with studying, so getting away from it helps me relax. Lie down on a bed,
or move to a different room if you can. If you can get near a window, try
looking into the distance to relax your brain and eyes.
- Breathe for a couple of minutes, then
evaluate how you feel. Again, try to stay positive. Instead of “I feel
shitty and I don’t want to do anything,” try “I feel tired right now
and resting can help me feel better.”
- Based on this evaluation, estimate the
amount of time you need to rest. If you have a lot of studying to do, try to
keep it under an hour. Set a timer for the amount of time you have decided on.
(remember to include buffer time!) Getting back to work on time can make you
feel more productive, which conduct better productivity!
- During a long break, do an activity
that makes you feel good and takes your mind off studying. You can
- Take a long walk. If you live near a park or a trail, try strolling around in it.
- Eat healthy food. Junky comfort food can make you feel groggy, especially foods that are fried. Instead, try eating some fruits or nuts.
- Take a shower/bath
- Talk with a friend
- Make some art
- Enjoy a long coffee break. (avoid caffeine if you feel anxious/panicky, though)
- Play with a pet
- Take a power nap
- Longer meditation/yoga
- Again, try to avoid looking at screens.
Also, avoid thinking about studying. Let yourself have the luxury of NOT
THINKING ABOUT STUDYING for a while, so you can return to it with a fresh mind.
Mental health days
- Sometimes everything is just too much
and you might feel the need to stop everything for a day. If so, take a mental
- Think of mental health days as physical
health days. If your body isn’t feeling well, you are allowed to stay in bed
and sleep/not do anything for a day. Similarly, if your mind isn’t feeling
well, you are also allowed to stay in bed and sleep/not do anything for a day.
- Let your parents and teachers know that
you don’t feel well and can’t go to school. From my experience, most teachers are pretty understanding and will let you
have the day off. (You might have some work to make up later, though.)
- Do not study on mental health days.
Don’t even think about studying on mental health days. Instead, just focus on
getting better. You can
- Sleep in
- Clean your room
- Take a super long bath, complete with bath bombs and candles
- Watch a good movie
- Read a good book
- Sing your favorite songs really loudly
- Literally anything that (IS HEALTHY and) makes you feel good about yourself.
Study groups can keep you going, even when you kind of don’t want to
- Setting up a time (like a date!) can
keep you on track
- Study with someone you trust to keep
you accountable. Don’t study with someone you know you’re going to gossip or
watch cat videos with.
- If you really feel the need to cancel a study date, it’s ok! Just like canceling any kind of date, it’s 100% okay to back out if you feel uncomfortable.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and happy studying!