Prioritise and Organise
When it comes to revising for exams or writing up an assignment, planning is key to success and a less stressful experience.
Prioritise: Have an exam that’s on Monday but not another one until Friday? The most logical thing is to list all your commitments, figure out whether you need to revise for one more than the other, the timings of your revision (so that the closest is completed or revised first so that it is fresh in your mind). Or you could work the timings out based on importance of commitment or the grade weighting.
Organisation: One way to reduce stress is to put an order to your work and create an easy system to track your progress and workload. You could create a timetable to visually demonstrate your workloads, you could create lists to keep all your commitments in check and to do lists to ensure that you’re prepared for the tasks of that day/week.
Control your Social Media Useage
Social media can be distracting. We have all lost hours scrolling through our Instagram feeds or liking posts on Facebook. Procrastination is a student’s worst enemy and one way to help tackle this is to control our social media usage.
Limit social media interactions: If your research or revision does not involve social communications on the internet, there is no need to spend so much time online. There are several ways to reduce the amount of screen time you are getting: you could disable certain sites until your assignments are submitted and exams completed, you could remove the apps from your phone for a period or, if your self-control isn’t quite there, there are programs that can disable access to sites for a specified time.
Use Social Media more effectively: Social media isn’t bad, it gives you a break when you need one, it allows you to keep up with current affairs and allows you to socialise. But in order to succeed during exam season and not fall prey to procrastination it must be used to your advantage. Use social media to ask questions when you need help (a range of answers may give you more ideas on how to approach something), message friends to meet up to study together or to take a well-earned break, use trending material and posted articles to give you advice, ideas and keep you informed of what is going on around you.
Eat Healthily and Stay Hydrated
At testing times it’s hard to believe but…you can’t survive on just pizza, coffee and energy drinks.
Healthy Eating: Try and score that five-a-day and cut down on sugar and fat. Despite the obvious reasons that eating healthily is good for you (less disease and illness) certain foods help with brain function, concentration, memory and eye function.
Stay Hydrated: We are meant to drink two litres of water every day, we need to keep ourselves hydrated, and often (with water rather than caffeine!) There are loads of benefits to drinking plenty of water including: increased energy, relieving fatigue, flushing out toxins and decreasing the chances of illness, improving complexion, boosting your immune system, plus water is a natural headache reliever.
Read a Book
Escape in a non-academic book: Taking a break from the jargon, references and boring topics is not only a beneficial break, but also allows your brain to switch off, think about ideas in the background and helps you relax. Picking up a non-academic book allows the reader to escape for a little while and enjoy some time off.
Escape in different academic books: This may sound contradictory, but reading books that are linked to your course indirectly, or are books on different topics, may help you to take a break from your work while providing new information, quotes and perspectives that you could use.
Make time to Go Outside
It’s easy to get buried in your books or stuck to the screen, but it’s all important to get a breath of fresh air to clear your head and recharge.
Go Outside: Revising in the sunshine, eating your lunch listening to the bird song, taking the dog for a walk, anything that will get you away from that computer screen for five minutes can prove helpful. Benefits of time outside include: more vitamin D in your system, less fatigue and improved concentration, reduced stress and greater motivation.
Take a break
Many of us often go without a break for long stretches of time, even going all day without taking a proper break which is damaging to your health.
Stop working: Step away from that computer screen, put down that book, drop those pens and move away from that practice paper. You can’t work all the time, our bodies cannot handle it, our minds start to wander and health deteriorates as a result. Schedule in rest periods: have a bath, go for a walk, watch a movie or go and see a friend. Do something that isn’t linked to your assignments or upcoming exams and just focus on you for a moment.
Get some rest: Whether this is having a power nap, rescheduling your day so you can get a proper nights sleep, or just relaxing for a brief period means that you’re more refreshed and motivated to work, your brain is healthier and more focused, your eyes aren’t straining to read the screen and you feel less run down and much better in yourself.
Visit www.floridahospital.com/blog/health-benefits-of-rest for health benefits to sleep and rest – really useful!
And don’t forget to celebrate! For some, this is your last semester at university before tackling the next step. For others, you are still going strong and working through your degree. Whatever the situation, your hard work, dedication to your course and that relieved feeling when you hand over that assignment should be recognised and celebrated so, go and celebrate! We are all proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too, well done!