Ahhh, the pressure as you get to those higher grades can be overwhelming. Year 12 onwards poses many challenges, and it can be hard to take the time to look after yourself properly, but it is essential to prioritise those self-care needs. It is necessary that The busier you get, the more important it is that you learn to understand and manage self-care priorities to maintain good health and mental wellbeing.
Between your academic workload and job, if you have one, it can be hard to prioritise time for yourself. But we have ten tips to help you find time to relax and enjoy some time out while not compromising your study schedule.
Tip 1: Develop a sleep routine
Like most students, you probably think sleep is overrated, or you just have to keep going until that assignment is in, but it is one of the most important forms of self-care. Your cognitive and physical activity is impacted by lack of sleep which means your mood and concentration levels are affected. So, taking the time to develop a regular sleep routine should be your priority.
Are you working late to get an assignment done? Take a half-hour nap to see you through. While a good night’s sleep would be ideal, a nap will give you that boost to see you through the late night.
Tip 2: Develop a routine
Develop a routine that allows you to take time out for yourself. While realistically you may not be able to follow this exactly every day, planning your day around study, work, meals and time for yourself will enable you to develop good habits and help you find calm in the chaos.
Tip 3: Be physically active
The last thing you often feel like doing when the books are beckoning is exercise. Physical activity is a great stress reliever and improves concentration, mental health and sleep.
Exercise doesn't have to take a lot of time out of your day or be complicated. Simply taking a walk or shooting some hoops in the yard will get your circulation going and get you away from the books for some self-care.
Tip 4: Eat healthily and regularly
It is easy to sit at your desk and snack on all those delicious treats, but ditch the junk! Cleaning up your diet will make you feel better within yourself, but more importantly, when you’re well-nourished, you can learn better, have more energy and be more alert.
Tip 5: Get offline
Sometimes for the best type of self-care, getting offline for a couple of hours can be the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Recharge by doing something else: take a nap, read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, paint your nails; whatever you choose to do, enjoy the time away from social media, study and the plethora of information found online.
Tip 6: Drink plenty of water
Water keeps you hydrated, helps keep your mood balanced, reduces headaches and migraines, improves your skin, makes you alert...and the list goes on. Simply, it's good for you and doesn't require you to take time away from your study. Keep a water bottle at your desk.
Tip 7: Try Yoga or Meditation
You don't have to leave your house to do Yoga and Meditation, and you can engage in it during a short break from study. Pop on a YouTube Video, or use an App to follow along with a session and engage in some self-care. Yoga and meditation are both great for centering your mind and helping you to focus when you get back to study.
Tip 8: Treat yourself
It is so easy to get caught up in your study that life becomes all about work, and self-care goes out of the window. The reality is, that if you don't take the time to treat yourself, you will burnout. It is worth considering treating yourself to a massage, an afternoon with friends, shopping, a spa day, going for a run or a swim, having a bath, playing a game or lighting some candles. Whatever it is that you enjoy and will recharge you ready for another round of study, take the time out to do it.
Tip 9: Learn to say no
It is ok to say no! If you already have enough on your plate, then say no to a new request. If someone wants you to go to a party, but you plan on only taking a short time out of your study for meditation, then it is ok to say no. Self-care involves having a balance in life, and balance is sometimes about saying yes, but other times it also involves saying no.
Tip 10: Ask for help
When I was studying, I wish I asked for help sooner because when I did, the weight was lifted, and I was able to start achieving far greater than I was. At first, it can be scary to reach out and ask for help, but it is the greatest form of self-care you can give yourself. Being able to say to someone that you need help will help you not feel alone and will have you moving forward in no time.
I can hear students saying "...but I don't have time," it is essential that you make time. Learning to look at yourself will impact your study positively and doesn't have to mean spending hours away from it. Give some of these tips a go and enjoy the benefits you reap from self-care.