This is the time of year when students find themselves dealing with stress that comes from preparation for exams, sports, after school activities, deciding on a college or job and a host of other issues. Managing through stressful situations is important for several reasons not the least of which is your personal health and accomplishing those things that need to be done. In consideration of school work, including tests, young adults will often “cram” or continue to study long after their mind has essentially shut down. They believe it necessary to “put in the time” to get a top grade. This approach is actually the opposite of what you should be doing. You MUST let your mind relax and take a break! Follow these few simple rules and you will get through those stressful periods – not saying it is “easy” but it is manageable! Here we go:
1. If you have not done so already you should create a daily schedule to manage your time. Prioritize what needs to be done. Base your schedule on factors such as specific events; class time, after school work/sports, and so on. Fill in the remainder of your day/week and block off those times when you do your best work [are you a morning person? Night person?] and use that time to study whenever possible.
2. Be certain you eat a good breakfast. This is very important in getting your day off to a good start. If you are into sports then you will need to make food choices consistent with your specific circumstances.
3. You should be consistent as possible with a reasonable amount of exercise. Each day in your schedule – and it must be in the plan – you should take that time to work out in some fashion. Even a 30 minute walk is better than no exercise at all. Do not underestimate the importance of this part of your day.
4. Take breaks on a reasonable, consistent basis. Just as you would take a break in work or exercising, your mind needs one also. It may not be self-evident but at some point the mind will just not absorb anything else until it gets some rest. We understand there is the mental need to “drive on” and “push” yourself at times thinking this is what you should do [otherwise you feel guilty] but it is truly counterproductive. Take a break! Then approach your studies again with a refreshed mind. This is particularly important when studying difficult subject matter. You will be surprised how giving your mind a brief rest will re-energize you and allow you to approach challenging subjects with a new mindset.