Managing Academic Stress | Stress Awareness Week
Managing Academic Stress | Stress Awareness Week
This is a piece I’ve put together for Stress Awareness Week on how to keep on top of your studies and my top tips on how to make sure you find a healthy work/life balance. It’s super important in the current climate to be able to separate your studies from other aspects of your life and create those separations in your home learning environment. Keep reading to check out my top tips for learning from home in the current climate and how to take time for yourself!
Find ways to make that separation between home working and home relaxing
One thing I find super important to grasp whilst working from home is creating that separation between work-time and relax-time. I think this is something each person grasps in their own ways, but my personal method is that I go on a walk every day after finishing work. This helps me transition in my mind that I’m winding down for the day, and my home environment is for relaxing when I get back from my walk!
Avoid that blue light!
Personally, I find the sheer amount of screen time quite overwhelming and find it important to use mechanisms in my working hours to tackle this. On my phone and laptop I have made the brightness warmer rather than a blue light screen and have them on permanent night mode. This helps me avoid getting headaches from the screen.
I also find it useful to schedule in breaks away from the screen such as on my lunch break to avoid getting screen fatigue! I’ve also got screen time limits on my phone so that I can’t go on apps just before I go to bed. This means I wake up in the morning feeling more refreshed and ready to work!
Take time for self-care
It’s important to create time for self-care within your working time. Each student works differently and it’s important to find a system or routine that works best for you in your studies. However, it’s important to create space for that time to look after yourself within a working day. I find it useful to do 10 minutes of mindfulness in the morning to have a good start and to complete a walk after work to wind down again.
Find ways to switch off from your studies.
It’s super important to make sure when you are having time away from your studies, you actually ensure that is time away from study talk. This will help your productivity when studying and allow you to wind down away from it.
An example of this is to not have your student emails on your phone to make sure you are not constantly feeling the need to check them. With course group chats (as useful as they are) perhaps mute them when you are not studying too!
Create a workplace area
This might involve battling with your relative for the desk (I know this was me during A Levels), but it’s important to have an allocated space that you can concentrate and work in.
It’s also really important to try and keep it tidy. This is something I struggle with, as you might have noticed if you've ever popped into the office, but it's so much easier to work effectively without lots of clutter. Make your workspace the best environment for you!
Plan your day
In the current circumstances, it’s easy to go from 5 minutes 'just checking' Instagram to spending the hour looking at a certain celebrity's TikTok challenges. To avoid this, try to create a realistic timetable for the day, along with goals which you can work towards.
It's important that you keep these realistic based on how you work. Make sure you include breaks and don't compare yourself to others or to your normal productivity in the library. If you have an unproductive day, don’t worry – that’s normal. Wake up fresh and try again tomorrow.
Explore available resources
I know that it takes time to adapt to this different situation, but it's an opportunity to get creative with the available content. Explore the library website and look out for other websites that might be beneficial – I found journal database searches were really helpful during my final year. Some websites in lockdown have even added additional support and resources, so make sure to look out for these!
If you are still struggling with locating resources or having any problems with having the right equipment, members of the ILE team are still here to support you. Academic Liaison Librarians are there to answer emails, arrange tutorials and are more than happy to help students get the resources they need.
Keep in touch with your lecturers and Academic Tutor
Given the current climate, it can be difficult to keep in contact with your coursemates and staff. However, staff are still working at the University to support you, so make sure you contact them if you need any support on assessments or anything clarifying.
The staff work here to support you. Make sure you utilise the services that are available even while you're at home.
Create group study sessions
Just like you would meet up with your coursemates in the library, it’s important to keep activities like this going at home. There are going to be elements of seminars and lectures that are really beneficial to discuss with them, so use your initiative to continue these from home.
Plus, it’s always fun to have an online chit-chat with your pals!
There's seriously nothing more important than making sure you don't put too much pressure on yourself.
Allocate times in the day to do things you enjoy, or stay in contact with friends. Keep note of how long you’ve been studying for, and make sure for every hour you do you take a 15-minute break to refresh yourself, get a drink and some snacks!
Utilise the support available
While you're working from home, the University and the Students' Union are aware of how different your learning environment is and we're here to support you.
If you need advice on improving your academic work and writing, book a tutorial with Study Development. If you’re struggling on knowing who to contact about specific things, get in contact with myself or the Students' Union team and we can help signpost to available University services. Make sure you have a look around at the University subsections and also external advice platforms for learning at home!
I hope my tips help you in some way with your learning environment at home and maintaining your wellbeing. Remember we're still here, working hard to ensure students have the best outcomes when studying at home. If there's anything you need support on, please email me ([email protected]) – I'm more than happy to help.
Best of luck with your University assessments!