The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday February 4th

Column: Getting out of the post-break slump

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. Tidying up can help you get out of a slump.</p>
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DTH Photo Illustration. Tidying up can help you get out of a slump.

In August, I decided I would make fall semester my semester

And then November came. Slump activated.

To avoid the same thing happening in the spring, here's some tips to help you avoid a slump.

A slump occurs when you least expect it. You can’t focus on your work, you’re tired and it feels like you haven’t had fun in ages. 

A tell-tale sign that I’m in a slump is the state of my room. Luckily, cleaning it up doesn’t take too much brain power. My first step to feel somewhat human again is to bring my room back to habitable conditions. If I see a mess all around me, I just assume my life is a mess, too.

Cleaning my room is the first “puzzle piece” in bringing things back together. 

Next is to tell your friends what’s up.

Not only does talking to your friends make you feel less alone (college kids tend to go through the slump cycle together), but it makes you verbalize exactly what’s going on. 

Nothing’s worse than not only feeling terrible, but not knowing why. Sometimes the factors could be sitting right in front of you, but it takes a friend’s advice or questions to recognize them. So tell someone what’s on your mind and see what they have to say. They won’t judge you for it. 

After that, grab your cowboy boots... or whatever piece of clothing makes you feel good.

This past week, I was so sick that the only cure for me was to go home and watch “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” That’s how dire the situation was.

But on my way to my second visit to Campus Health, I stepped out in the most jaw-droppingly incredible fit. I pulled out all the stops: peacoat down to the Carhartt-pants-and-cowboy-boot combo. And you better believe those cowboy boots helped me hobble all the way to my 10 a.m. appointment. (But not back. I was in such a bad state the doctor had to call a P2P van to deliver me at the Hinton James doorstep.)

Even though I had literally fainted seven hours earlier, waiting in a heap for my suitemate to find me, I wore the cowboy boots. It's science. 

When you put effort into the way you present yourself – basically anything other than sweats, if you can help it – you are biologically forced to have a better day. Even if it’s only in your head. That’s half the slump battle. Put your cowboy boots on.

Lastly, get your game plan together.

Your room is habitable again, your friends have your back and you’re wearing an outfit that even @tarheelthreads couldn’t resist posting about. 

Zac Efron said it best: you gotta get your head in the game. But instead of spearheading your school work all in one go, make a game plan. 

My fool-proof plan is as follows: 

  1. Get caught up on sleep. If you don’t have any sleep in you, nothing else you do will be worth it. It’s like when you’re playing a video game and don’t save any progress. You’ll spend days running on six hours of sleep and wonder why you can’t tell your lefts from your rights. 
  2. Do some easy warm-up stuff. This might be doing the homework for that easy class, or finishing up a reading that won't take too long. Remind your brain what it’s like to use critical thinking skills.
  3. Get back into the heavy lifting. When I’m really burnt out from school, I use the Pomodoro method for schoolwork. It’s 25 minutes of work (with no distractions) and then giving your brain a break for five minutes and repeating. 
  4. Remind yourself what it felt like to go into this slump. One of the best skills I've learned in life was how to recognize when I might be entering a slump. Ask yourself how you felt so next time you can prevent it — or look for help sooner.

Even though every college student has their slumps, that doesn’t make facing them any easier. But you need to be proactive and take steps to help yourself, because your problems won’t just disappear. 

And that’s just my Two Spence.


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