Oh boy, it’s been quite the year. It’s all coming to an end now, and that can be very stressful. I know for those who live near me, things have been especially hectic with the RedForEd teacher walkout – we haven’t had school for a week now, missing some of our finals and valuable review days. But, we’ve been chugging along with studying (mostly) and are still feeling the stress and anxiety that comes with this season.
With AP week upon us just next week, many of us are feeling the pressure and stress that comes with AP week. One way to cope with this is creating an actionable study plan. If you haven’t already read it, take a look at my blog post on creating a study plan.
It’s so important now more than ever to take care of yourself. The increased stress causes your immune system to go down, so many of us are fighting colds and the flu, or perhaps anxiety attacks, procrastination, or stagnation.
So, without wasting any more of your precious study time, I’m going to share with you my top 3 daily tips to reduce stress:
1. Make a study break routine
I have a little break routine for heavy study sessions. I set a timer for however long I want to study (check out the pomodoro method for a new way to punctuate studying and breaks – I recommend the Tide app), then when the timer goes off, I get up, get physically away from my work space, take a few deep and intentional breaths, and do some sun salutations or any other yoga poses that feel right.
When I get back to studying after a 5-10 minute break, I resume with my pre-studying ritual: I get into position, clean off my desk to keep it not cluttered, use some peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils, and then resume my timer.
Punctuating your studying with breaks and creating positive habits to start your studying routine will make the task seem less daunting and keep your brain from frying. Fried brains don’t learn well, so it’s better, more efficient, and less stressful to take breaks!
2. Create and establish a relaxing night routine
It’s pretty easy to get into the mindset of “I must study” late at night, especially if you haven’t studied as much as you wanted during the day. But, staying up late to study before an exam won’t do you much good. In preparation for exams, it’s important to end your day on a positive and relaxing note.
Step 1: Put away the study materials. Get your papers back into your bag, your review books back on the shelf, and your pencils back in their case. Get those physics equations, president names, and graphs out of your head for the rest of the night.
Step 2: Get ready for the next day – take a shower, set out your clothes, pack your bag, straighten up your room
Step 3: Reward yourself for the accomplishments you made that day – try writing a “to done” list of all the things you did and concepts you mastered or made progress on. It’ll reduce frustration and help you keep track of where you’re at.
Step 4: Drink some tea, read a non-academic book, and light a candle – treat yourself a bit!
Step 5: Get to bed at a reasonable hour – this probably means before midnight.
3. Don’t throw your social life out the window
During this time, it’s important to continue doing non-school related things. Go to coffee with a friend, grab ice cream, or go to the park.
Spending time with others and doing non-academic activities will refresh your brain and ensure that you don’t go completely insane. In earlier years, I would throw my social life out the window around this time and devote everything I had to studying, and it wasn’t healthy.
Give yourself dedicated time slots to studying and follow through on them, but don’t hesitate to schedule friends and family in there as well.
So, I hope you follow my advice this study season and focus on mental health – I see high school students continually disregard this as soon as a high stress situation comes to them. These 3 things are things you can implement daily to keep enough of your sanity to get through and succeed this May.
Good luck on your finals and exams!