It’s that time of year again – the leaves are changing, the sweaters are unfolded, and stress and exhaustion seem to set in.

For many of my friends, the pressure of college midterms is slowly crushing their spirits. For others, deadlines for work seem to be getting increasingly closer. For many horse people, the end of the season brings big tracks and last pushes to meet goals for the year.

Clearly, there’s a lot going on for everyone. Additionally, the fluctuating weather can really take it out of you… As I experienced at our last two shows, pouring down rain and dropping temperatures can make a long day feel never ending!

So how do we stay engaged? How do we dig deep to keep our energy pushing forward towards our last few months of the year? Also, very importantly, how do we rest and recharge in the midst of all of this?

During particularly busy weeks, there are a few things I’ve found that helps me stay energized, focused, and rested.

Set short term goals, or “rewards”. Are you dealing with a particularly tough week? Find things you enjoy (big or small!) to look forward to throughout the week to break it up. Do you have a jump school scheduled for later in the week? Or maybe spontaneously taking the day off from training to enjoy a fun trail ride with friends is just what you need. Outside of horses, sometimes I’ll plan an elaborate dinner with my friends one night, or maybe enjoy something as simple as eating my favorite ice cream while watching a movie I’ve had on my list for a while.

Finding time for my favorite activity – bareback trail rides – is critical space for me to reflect and recharge during the week.

Remember your why. You’ve grown towards your goals, which has led you to where you are today. Maybe there’s still plenty you’d like to change or accomplish, but recognizing the work that you have done as well as why you’ve put so much work into those goals is helpful in keeping the motivation behind your actions, giving long days purpose and meaning.

Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to turn to your support system. Friends are happy to listen or lend a hand as you navigate a difficult schedule. Find comfort in turning to those support structures so you don’t have to tackle tasks alone.

I’m feeling so grateful for the team at Payne Equestrian, as well as my friends and family,  for their guidance and support!

Listen to yourself. While following these tips have helped me stay active and connected to my work, you have to first listen to yourself for what you need. Without taking care of yourself, you won’t be in the position to care for others or your responsibilities. If you’re feeling completely worn out, find the opportunity to take a nap or find a break in your normal routine. Perhaps a day off from your day to day will freshen you up.

Reflect on where you are and how you’re feeling. Are you covering your own needs first? Are you aware enough of yourself to set motivating goals, or hold your why center? Have you identified your support structure to help keep all of this in track, listen to you when you want, and encourage you through the ups and downs of your work?

Putting in this work for yourself will help you recharge and reenergize to tackle the slump of midterms, work, and final shows. Do you have additional suggestions? Share them with us!