With another round of exams fast approaching, it’s important to keep your body and your mind healthy. If you’ve been hitting the books hard while trying to have a social life like me, you may be feeling a little sleep deprived, a little stressed, and a little burnt out. You’ve been working hard for the past couple of months, so these feelings are totally normal and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with upcoming assignments. So with that in mind, here are some quick tips to help you recharge, relax, and reboost so you can do your best on your tests!
As much as it seems like a good idea to pull an all-nighter, it is a definite NO. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t function properly, so you won’t perform at the best of your ability. Cramming the night before is never a good idea, and staying up into the wee hours of the morning going over those biology terms time and time again will only hurt your performance more. Prepare for the exam a few days before, set a cut-off time for your studying at night, and try to get at least 7 hours of sleep the night before the big test.
Taking a break is just as important as hitting the books. It’s important to give yourself a 5-10 minute break every hour. Walk around, stretch out your limbs, listen to music, or grab a snack. Giving yourself a break can help recharge your brain so you are more focused when you go back to studying. Just beware of doing things that could be distracting and that might keep you from returning to your studying time.
It’s easy to grab’n’go with food during exam time because you’re rushing off to meet your study groups or trying to get that last minute tutoring session in before your big exam. However, it’s important to focus on what you are putting into your body. Small balanced meals throughout the day are key for keeping your mind sharp and active, and while it’s nice to have the occasional pick me up of chocolate, try to snack on healthier options like apple slices, nuts, cheese sticks, granola bars, or low-fat popcorn. Although it might not taste as good as something sugary like ice cream or candy, your brain and your body will thank you later.
Quitting caffeine can be a challenge, and I especially know this as a deeply devoted lover of Dunkin Donuts coffee. However, your body is better off without it, because caffeine is known to increase stress and anxiety, two ever-present factors in the exam circuit. While a small amount of caffeine can improve alertness and reduce stress, excessive amounts can make stress increasingly worse. It does more harm than good. Instead, try drinking decaffeinated coffee or soda if you can’t kick the habit. Caffeine-free tea is also a great option, with varieties like chamomile and lavender intended to soothe stress and relieving your worries.
By Annie O’Sullivan