Yes, it’s that time of the year again when life gets put on hold, stress levels rise and thoughts are focussed on only one thing: exams! Getting into good habits of studying is obviously critical to doing well. Equally important though is staying sane while you’re hitting the books. Here’s how to do that:
Schedule your time
It’s different for everyone, but our productivity drops off substantially after a certain length of time of focussed attention. For some people, it’s half an hour, for others, it’s a couple of hours. Find out what your ideal time slot is, and try to work according that. Study for that time, then take a short break before getting back into it.
During your break, get up and walk away from your books and devices. Go and do something else entirely, like grab something to eat or drink, dance like no one is watching, go for a quick jog, or simply stand out in the fresh air and just breathe.
It’s tempting to up your intake of coffee, energy drinks and/or sugary snacks while you’re studying. Sure, have some now and then if you must, but also feed your body good stuff with actual nutrients.
Replace some of that coffee with a smoothie or flavoured water, and be sure to include plenty of brain food in your meals to help your mind work at peak performance. You’ll be happy to hear that includes dark chocolate, as well as berries, seeds, nuts and avos.
We really do need sleep to operate at our best. Try not to cut your sleep time down too much when you’re studying (and on the other hand, watch out for the temptation to sleep to avoid studying).
Keeping to your normal (hopefully healthy) sleep routine is your best bet, so your body doesn’t get thrown too much out of whack.
Take time off
Rather than studying round the clock, plan some time to take a couple of hours’ complete break. Go and do whatever exercise you enjoy to work off some of the adrenaline overload caused by stress, meet friends to chat about something light and cheery, or go for a quiet walk outside to recharge your batteries.
It’s really down to taking care of your basic needs, so your system is supported when you add the extra stress of studying to your day. Look after yourself, and you’ll find the whole process so much easier.