A global pandemic, political turmoil, social injustices . . . how is a student supposed to focus on trigonometry homework with chaos at every corner?
Living a "normal" life has been far from easy these past few months, but doing your best to adjust and carry on will keep you headed toward your educational goals. The following tips can assist with improving your spirits – and hopefully your GPA!
- Take a break from news and social media
- Promote better sleep
- Create a vision board
- Tidy up your surroundings
- Surround yourself with positive people
Yes, people should keep up on current events – to a degree. If endless stats on COVID rates, images of protestors, and back-and-forth political bickering are causing your mood and your ability to write a term paper to nosedive, feel no guilt in limiting exposure.
Clearing one's mind for a period of time can be a godsend. By promoting calmness and focus, meditation puts those who practice it in a better position to digest information and approach decisions with clarity. Alleviating stress results in happier individuals with more energy to take on the challenges of school, work, and everything in between. Even your immune system gets a boost!
Check out popular apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Ten Percent Happier. Prefer a book to guide you? Consider Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg or Strength in Stillness by Bob Roth.
Plenty of students hit the sheets with every intention of getting solid Zzzs, only to spend hours staring at the ceiling or endlessly tossing. Turning off your brain during these unprecedented times can prove difficult, but a good night's sleep can do wonders for alertness and general well-being the next day.
Turn off your cellphone and other electronics at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Instead, spend the last part of your day enjoying a caffeine-free herbal tea, reading a fun book or magazine, taking a warm bath, listening to soft music . . . anything that encourages decompressing.
Why are you bothering to study during your lunch break or return to reading a philosophy assignment after getting your kids settled in their online classroom? Only you can answer that question. Craft a vision board to remind you of your "whys." Put up a picture of the snappy new Prius that will replace your 12-year-old clunker when you land a better job after graduation. Include snapshots of your parents to think of the smiles that they'll display when you cross the stage with diploma in hand. Throw in some motivational quotes that spark your fire.
The world outside may seem like it's falling apart, but your space inside doesn't need to reflect that negativity. Carve out a pleasant retreat in which to study. The area needn't be large – just clean, organized, and inviting.
Finally, take the time to develop a support system. This group can include family, friends, teachers, classmates, school counselors – anyone who you feel truly can act as a shoulder to cry on, sounding board, or cheerleader when life starts feeling overwhelming. Find connections that bring you joy. Remember, COVID-19 isn't the only thing around that's contagious – so are smiles.