If you’re anything like me, then seeing young people go back to school probably makes you feel like something new should be happening in your life too. I call this the September blues, and I always get them around this time of year — a side effect of having had to adjust to new classes and new challenges every fall for most of my life.
The good news is that I now know how to overcome this anxious feeling: I just channel the surplus of energy my body and brain are conditioned to make available to me into a new activity that forces me to learn or create new things.
In this article, I decided to share a few of the tricks I’ve used over the years to reconnect with my inner student and find a new sense of purpose in my life and work. Hopefully, they’ll have a similar impact on you as well.
Sign up for a class
Since back to school is what September is most closely associated with, it makes sense to look for a class to take. There are many options to choose from here, from acquiring new strengths to add to your professional profile, to expanding your perspective by stepping outside of your comfort zone. Whatever you decide to enroll in, the point is that education can greatly contribute to our happiness and our success, and is never a bad thing.
Suggestions: Continuing education courses at a university/college; Professional development training seminars; Classes at an art, language, new media or cooking school.
Start a personal project
If you’re the self-motivated type, then maybe a new personal project is what you need to get over feeling stuck. It doesn’t have to be anything life changing or with the intent of monetizing it down the line (although there is nothing wrong with that). As long as you establish a plan and stick to the process, results are sure to follow. If the prospect of having to do everything yourself is daunting, you can also consider collaborating with someone.
Suggestions: Start writing a blog; Develop an idea for a small business; Take a photo and post it on social media every day; Volunteer for a local community organization.
Read a non-fiction book
Maybe I’m the exception here, but when I was in school I used to enjoy having to learn things that were initially beyond my comprehension. So when I feel like stretching my brain a little bit, I head down to a book store to find a good non-fiction to read that I know I’ll have to stay focused to fully understand — and get the rush of mastering it. Another tip: I often read two books at the same time in order to be able to alternate when I feel stuck or bored.
Suggestions: Start With Why, Simon Sinek; Disruption, Jean-Marie Drue; The Art of the Pitch, Peter Coughter, The 60-Minute Brand Strategist, Idris Mootee.
Be more physically active
A big part of the discomfort we experience at this time of year stems from having to fall back into a routine after the free-flowing vibe of summer months. One of the best ways to organize your schedule is by building it around physical activity. In my case, there is something about knowing I have a chance to go all out and burn energy playing basketball every Wednesday and Sunday night that makes the rest of the week go by smoother and faster.
Suggestions: Join a sports league; Sign up for a gym membership; Enlist the help of a personal trainer; Commit to going on a walk every day; Get a dog.
Ask for more responsibilities
In a way, starting classes again after school breaks was a process of taking on more responsibilities. So it makes sense that some of us “crave” the challenge of doing more and stepping up our game. The good news is that most employers welcome the idea of their staff wanting to grow as professionals and make greater contributions. The key is finding a match between organizational needs and what you can offer.
Suggestions: Build a case for leading new projects; Offer to do trainings for new staff; Establish mentor-mentee relationships; Get involved in your organization’s social media;
Are you in need of a refresh this fall? What are some of your tricks to get over the September Blues, at work and in life? If you’re feeling stuck, we’d love to help your organizations find creativ