Blocks can happen to anyone, at any time, making us feel like we’re stuck, unable to move forward. Over time, they can wear us down, make us feel tired, and as that goes on, some of us even find ourselves questioning the path we’ve chosen — and thinking about dropping out. Does a block mean we should give up on our goals?
Mental blocks are more common than most of us realize. They leave us feeling tired and without focus. But are they a sign to give up and move on to something else, or should we use them as motivation to shake things up a bit? If we’re blocked, should we drop a class, drop out, or something else?
Why Do We Get Blocked?
Blocks can form by working so hard on a project, or on many projects, that we burn out, maybe develop a psychological resistance and become unmotivated. Fear of failure can also cause some of us to avoid working through to the end of a task so we never have to face we feel is the inevitable failure. Sometimes we can talk ourselves into a block by deciding this class or material isn’t important. There are as many reasons for becoming blocked as there are people who get blocked.
But what’s most concerning about a block is when a person doesn’t tackle it and instead starts to eliminate the things they’re struggling with as a result of feeling blocked. Maybe dropping a class or quitting school has been on your mind — but maybe it would be better to tackle the block instead of making decisions that may harm your long-term success.
Moving Through a Block
The brain and inner-being, or the essence of that which is a person, have to work hand-in-hand. When we become unfocused, there may be a disconnect between the two.
We may still have great ideas, and may consciously know how to perform each individual task in the process, but we may feel tired, or even weary, deep inside. (If this is the case, see if your school has a counseling program to help you in case you’re slipping into depression.)
We may even feel as though we have no idea what we’re working for, why we’re putting effort into projects, or what will ultimately be gained in the end. Loss of motivation is a real problem, but one that’s not hopeless.
So how do we rejuvenate, find new motivation, and overcome some of these blocks? Maybe via some of these ideas:
- Reconnect with a greater purpose. What was the real “why” for going to school to start with? What is the passionate reason for you to be there?
- Go somewhere new. Study cubicles and the dorm room can be stale and stifling. Moving to the park or coffee shop can help. Shaking up the atmosphere is sometimes enough to change the course of a tired brain.
- Take a step back. It may not be necessary to abandon a class altogether. But a break from some of the tasks can allow time to refocus. Folding laundry or taking out the trash can offer a few mindless minutes and feel like a breather, giving the brain a little break. Or you can ask the prof for an extension to help you get back on track.
- Seek some counseling. We might stumble or find ourselves lacking confidence in our studies as the result of a block. But college counselors can help us restore confidence and remind us that we know more than we think.
- Practice self-care. It’s easy to burn out and form mental blocks when we put everything else first. Tackling things we’ve been putting off can help not only ease the burden but shrink our sense of being overwhelmed. It’s important to eat regularly and get enough sleep, too.
- Embrace self-doubt. Doubt makes all of us uncomfortable, but it isn’t something to fear. It can mean we’re on the brink of something great, even if it’s also something unknown that we may fear. Those suffering blocks may benefit from pushing boundaries and exploring whatever it is that lies beyond feelings of doubt. Relatedly, college is a time of exploring the identity, so if we’re denying parts of our identity, we might be creating blocks for ourselves in other areas.
No, mental blocks are certainly not a sign we should give up on our greater goals. They are usually a signal from that we need to step back, regroup, recharge and approach this college stuff with a renewed sense of confidence and perspective.