Skip to content
Image/Video Carousel

We speak to Student Support about motivation

We speak to our student support team for advice for anyone struggling with motivation during these unprecedented times. What motivates each of us will be different depending on what gives our life meaning, what gives us pleasure and what strengths and resources we have. There is no one size fits all answer as we are all different. There are though some ways in which we are all very similar indeed, we are all human. This means that we have a set of physical and emotional needs that we all need to meet in order to feel content. Think about how you meet yours, whether there is one or two that need attention and what you could do, small things that would make that need feel better achieved. Life is sometimes hard and it is the meaning we give things that help us get through the difficult times. Find something you feel passionate about or that brings you pleasure and do it.

Here are some practical points to that might help:


Create a daily schedule which has flexibility for change should something else come up. It could include different things each day or the same that’s up to you.

Small steps

Small steps can make a big difference, it’s good to stretch yourself but not too far. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. There are always options / choice.

“The best thing for your motivation is to do something positive that engages you.”


Connect with your family and friends through Zoom, Teams or a phone call. Keep them updated with things you wouldn’t usually speak about, such as talking about what TV programmes you’re both watching, some cooking you’ve done or even course work that you’re proud of!

You could also mention your hopes for the future, such as holidays you can’t wait to go on, what your dream job is or even what you want to do for your graduation! Just remember this is temporary and life will eventually go back to normal.

sleeping blue sky

Illustration by BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Ailish Beadle


A good sleep routine where possible should include reducing intake of food (especially sugar), alcohol, caffeine and screen time around two to three hours before bed.

It is encouraged to have water or a warm drink before bed. In the hour before bed, do things that you find relaxing such as having a warm bath, listening to music or reading a book.

Aim to go to bed at a similar time every night and get up around the same time each morning. When you wake up, it is best to get out of bed within 15/20 minutes. If you struggle to get up, you could write a list of 3 to 5 things you can choose from that you enjoy doing to do when you get out of bed such as having a good breakfast, shower or go for a walk.

Fruit on pink background

Illustration by BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Ailish Beadle

Look after yourself

Breathe, it really helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Breathing in for the count of 7 or 5 if easier, using your diaphragm, so that your tummy pushes out. Breathe out for the count of 11 or 9 if easier, feel your tummy go in.  Count at a speed that suits you. It can feel a little difficult and does need practice every day.

As you become more practiced at doing this you will start to feel the benefits. You can do this when you go to bed to and even drift off to a place you feel relaxed. Read our blog about mindfulness resources to use apps to help you.


If you can get outside for at least 20 minutes each day try to do so whilst staying present – focus on what is around you and let your brain take a break. If you can’t get outdoors to exercise, try it indoors instead with activities such as pilates or yoga.

There is a mind/body connection so what you eat and drink has an effect on your gut health, immune system and your brain. Try to eat a balanced diet which includes lots of colourful fruit and veg! Occasional treats are ok.