Ask Iman: How do I get out of a slump?

Dear Iman,

I’ve been in a major slump since school started. My dorm is a mess, I can’t keep track of assignments, I never see my friends and well, I just can’t seem to get out of my slump.

How can I become productive again?

We’re in the final stretch of the semester and oh boy, is it hard. Homesickness is starting to hit and you’re just starting to realize that the elective you took for an easy A is dragging your average way down. It’s slump city.

Slumps happen and it’s good that you’re catching it as it comes on, instead of trying to suppress it. I think the best way to overcome a slump is to recognize you need to rest, and then plan how you’ll tackle your ever-expanding to-do list. I know, it’s no fun, but you’ve gotta do it.

So, step one: rest. Sleep, stay hydrated, chill, hangout, take time to slow down. This can be especially hard when school deadlines are piling up, but even a night or two of rest will do you good. Burnout is real and you might feel guilty or lazy for taking a break while everyone else is supposedly grinding it out, but hear me out — people need to take breaks and not everyone is 100 per cent productive 100 per cent of the time.

I also like to talk to my friends. They’ll understand where you’re coming from, and seeing that you’re not the only person having an absolute dogshit time makes you feel better. I mean, it makes me feel better at least. Having a bad time while your friends are is solidarity, camaraderie and friendship at its finest.

After resting, I write down all my tasks — assignments, articles I’m working on, household tasks that need to be completed, groceries I need to buy — and slowly, I get myself to finish all of them. I like lists because you can see things getting crossed off. It’s motivational that way. And typically, once this list is completely checked off, I feel more comfortable with taking on new tasks, or even relaxing more (which you should be doing anyway!) because I’ve tackled all the things I needed to get done.

But, besides recognizing you’re in a slump, it’s also important to recognize why you’re there. I might not know everything, I know a few things for sure, like if you’re working yourself to the bone to get that A+, you won’t be able to experience all the “university experience” things people rave about. Yeah, yeah I get it — you’re here for the degree. But having fun and making memories matter, as cheesy as that sounds.

It’s also important to know when to go to others for help. Your professors and TAs are there to support you with school and your family and friends are there to support you at home. But, sometimes a slump isn’t just a thing to get over, rather, it’s something to talk to a mental health professional about. There is no shame in reaching out to others for support and, if in doubt, you should.

So, take that nap and rest. You can start to tackle your slump once you wake up.

You’re doing great. Keep it up!

The author of this column is not a mental health professional. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, the Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.

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