Written by Lexi Crouch | Monday, 1 June 2020
The life of a student isn’t the most easy or relaxed life to lead contrary to popular opinion. We know only too well from first-hand experience it can be rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. We’re often pushing ourselves beyond our known limits, breaking mental barriers down, which do result in greater confidence and ability in ourselves however, while this is happening, our own wellbeing and health can take a back seat – even with our best intentions planned out.
Welcome to the life of a student – the ups and down are a very normal part of the experience and here are some tips to keep a little more equilibrium through the life of study and enjoy somewhat of a smoother ride.
There is a lot that goes with having a dedicated study space in your home to help keep yourself accountable and switched on. Although our bed can be very cosy and comforting, when you are trying to study and maintain focus, stepping away from the bed and having a designated study space allows our brain to “switch on” and keeps the bed as a space for solid sleep which is also needed for a student to keep cognition sharp. Keep your space minimal for less distractions, consider essential oils in a burner for concentration and to keep mood and energy high, a white board for mind mapping and your favourite stationery because the process is meant to be enjoyed.
Music can be a very powerful tool that is beneficial in many situations such as lifting the mood, assisting in motivation and also work with maintaining focus. This will be personal for everyone as to which music is best suited when it comes to study and concentration, however binaural beats have been known to help with memory, alertness and lower stress that may be associated to study deadlines. It might be time to pull out the noise cancelling headphones and zone into the study.
Glucose is the main source of fuel for the brain. And because the brain is the organ that is required to switch on most for study, it is important to keep replenished and energy levels up whilst studying in order to keep mentally sharp. Try to include protein and monounsaturated rich snacks including nuts and seeds, making a smoothie including protein and flaxseed or guacamole to help with proper brain signalling and improve memory function.
With the modern day and the advancement of technology, we now have the ability to be available and accessible at all times. This is fantastic for many situations in life, however not when we are needing to focus or meet deadlines with assignments due. It may seem minor, but logging onto Instagram quickly may result in a half an hour scroll when attention is needed for the task at hand. Try to switch your phone off if possible or start by logging out of apps, put your phone on airplane mode and/or remove pop ups from your computer so they don’t break your study flow. There are also apps designed to help with focus by not allowing you to touch your phone to helping with not picking it up (which has become second nature to most in the modern day).
This is important as it helps to reset the body. We may think sitting down for long periods is being productive, however breaking it up and refreshing the brain with a new activity each couple of hours allows you to come back with a more focussed mind. Try completely removing yourself from your laptop by taking a walk around the block, having a dance to your favourite song or try some yoga or deep breathing. This helps you get out of your head and back into your body and improve blood flow to reduce stagnation and increase energy and alertness. You may even watch Netflix but try to limit it to one episode if deadlines need to be met. Taking breaks will help you come back with a different perspective and keep you engaged for longer.
The study journey can present with a range of emotions and situations during the years of study, so it is best to think of it as marathon rather than a sprint. Having strategies in place will help reduce stress around study and look after your wellbeing as well. Remember to be kind to yourself, it can be very overwhelming at times but reach out to your peers if needed to bump up the morale, remembering you are all in it together and you will get through it.
Lexi is in her final year of study of Nutrition at Endeavour and her zest for study arises from her own background navigating her health journey and wanting to help others feel as good as she does. Outside of study, Lexi works in the field of Eating Disorders, practices and teaches yoga, is a bum and follows her health path.