During the school year, one of the biggest struggles for students is figuring out how to balance self care and work in a healthy and efficient manner. Here is some advice to help you relieve the stress of school while maximising your productivity at the same time.
How do you suggest I deal with the stress of weeks where I feel like I have an overwhelming workload?
This is definitely an important question as this situation seems to occur with increasing frequency as Level 5 approaches and the workload begins to pile up. Something that I find extremely helpful is to create a schedule specifying when you will do each task. In doing this, you ensure that you leave yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete all your work, and it even gives you the opportunity to work in break periods. These are especially important to help break up the constant stress of the week and let your mind reset so that when you go to work again you will be refreshed and able to work efficiently. If the breaks are scheduled in, they serve the purpose of a healthy pause rather than a gateway to procrastination, which is lethal during these kinds of weeks. I would definitely recommend watching a short episode of TV on Netflix (comedies are good because they are light), listening to music, scrolling through social media or even other unconventional breaks such as online shopping to destress when you aren’t working.
An extra tip: Sometimes to reduce the hours you spend studying for tests, an effective strategy is to study smarter rather than study harder. Active study techniques are often much more effective than passively absorbing information. Looking into improving your study habits can cut down your overall work time for that one task and open up your schedule to work on other things instead.
How do you help yourself feel better after feeling like you just completely failed a test?
It’s disheartening to feel that way, especially when you went during thinking that you were really prepared, but it is really important to remember that one test doesn’t define your grade, certainly not with it being your worst. Bad tests also happen to everyone, so this feeling is completely normal. However, it’s hard to think like this after the test because the feeling of failure is very raw. As such, immediately after, I think that it’s a good idea to get some distance from the evaluation and take it easy until your stress over it subsides. Once this happens, it makes me feel better to either talk to my teacher or reflect on my own to find out what went wrong in order to avoid it in the future and, although cliché, learn from my mistakes. Not only does this improve my understanding on the topic overall, but doing this helps me feel less helpless, as I have gained control of the situation.
Extra tip: Test-taking strategies themselves are just as important as how you study, and practicing these skills is a way to avoid the feeling of failure in situations where you felt that you studied enough. If this is the case for you often, it may help you feel better to book an appointment with a learning strategist or your guidance counsellor to work through how you can improve the way you write tests. :)
What are some quick ways that I can destress when I feel anxious about school?
I personally really like meditating. Especially right before a test, focusing on your breathing slows down your heart rate and focuses your mind in order to complete the task at hand. I also really like listening to music, because it is a fast way to momentarily curb the stress by listening to the song that is playing rather than any anxious thoughts. Another quick fix is petting a dog/cat/other furry animal if you have one! They are fluffy. One last random tip is to make yourself a cup of tea. The tea itself is soothing, and the method of making it will help to distract you from any stress over school. My favourite thing about these stress relief strategies is how little time and effort they take, which makes them super easy to work into your routine.
Extra tip: If you don’t have a dog, I also recommend using pets as a destressor. There were therapy dogs at TFS during the week of February 12 for Level 4s and Level 5s! Contact Stella Casagrande (Level 5, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kelly Yuan (Level 4, email@example.com) to give feedback!