Low Mood and Motivation

Having a hard time lately? Feeling a little low? It’s completely normal to be experiencing the ups and downs that life throws at us – sometimes for no obvious reason at all. We all feel low from time to time and lack confidence, motivation or feel tired and irritable but often these feelings surpass after a couple of days or weeks.  

If you have been experiencing a low period that has lasted longer than several weeks you may be experiencing depression and sometimes we need a little extra support to climb over that hill we are facing and feel a bit more like our usual selves. If you feel have been feeling low for some time and feel you need some extra support we have some handy links at the bottom of this article.  

Low mood can impact our ability to do the things that naturally help us. For instance, sometimes showering or getting some fresh air can feel like the biggest task when we’re feeling low even if we know that these activities are likely to make us feel better in the long run. Our advice – start small and go slow – if you can set yourself one small task on day one such as cooking something nutritious or going for a short walk and tick that off your to-do-list for the day it’s a job well done! Then day two, set yourself two small tasks and so on… Gradually, you’ll feel your mood improving and be more able to do them bigger tasks you’ve been putting off! Have faith in yourself and give yourself permission and time to recover – we all need it from time to time.  

Sleep needs to be everyone’s best friend – there are soo many health benefits to a good nights sleep including reduced stress levels, better emotional and mental wellbeing, improved attention and concentration – the benefits are endless! Unfortunately, when we are suffering from poor mental health, our sleep is typically negatively impacted – we might struggle to get to sleep at night and sleep too much in the day. Having a healthy sleeping routine and learning how much sleep works for you is crucial to our health and wellbeing. It’s not always easy but Every Mind Matters recommends having a regular sleep routine where we have a set time to start winding down with some relaxation techniques that suit you and getting up at a similar time every day is key to a good nights sleep. This isn’t easy when you are a night owl (aka student)! We know sleeping patterns aren’t easily adjustable but waking up a similar time (ideally in the AM), getting some fresh air and trying to tire yourself out a bit before bedtime will help you in the long run! Keep at it – you’ve got this!  

Lectures, coursework, exams, rinse, repeat! Being a student is tough – it’s not a 9-5 where you switch off at 5pm, you’ll likely be pulling them all nighters in the library and laying in bed at 2am thinking about things you should have wrote in that coursework you submitted last week! Staying motivated is hard and sometimes you might want to throw the towel in completely. UCL have put together some great guidance about ways to kickstart that study motivation if you’re looking for some inspiration. There is also an abundance of resources like motivational quotes, videos and goal setting resources online to support you finding that motivation to keep being completely awesome and smashing life!  

If you’re struggling with low mood we recommend reading the NHS 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing.

Every Mind Matters also have some great self-help tips and resources here for dealing with depression.  

If you feel you could use some support, try reaching out to friends, family, your GP, the University Wellbeing Services or self-refer to the NHS TALKWORKS free therapy service.