Studying? Don’t forget your self-care.

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Studying? Don’t forget your self-care. Balancing the challenges of life, work and study simultaneously should never be a feat that you underestimate. When you take on a postgraduate programme, you’re not simply sitting in on a few classes on your downtime; rather, you’re making a massive commitment that’s likely far outside your comfort zone. Don’t let a full schedule affect your health.

Before you embark on your postgraduate journey, you need to take stock of where you want your qualification to take you. What improvements will this mean for your career prospects? How will ‘future you’ benefit? Keeping all of this in mind, you should take a step back and look at your current time commitments (work/relationships/family/friends/sports etc.) and see what you need to change in your schedule to make proper time for your studies. And don’t forget, you won’t be only one making sacrifices; your friends, family, and everyone in your inner circle will also need to make allowances for these greater demands on your time.

Manage your workload

As you’re trying to spin all these metaphorical plates, always remember that the most important element in this equation is your own wellbeing. Do you get enough sleep each night? Are you finding the time to exercise? Is your diet suffering? All of these things need to be taken into consideration because everything around you will suffer if you’re not taking proper care of yourself.

Listen to your body

There are, of course, medical and emotional warning signs that pop up when we are placing ourselves under too much stress and strain; however, the body, and particularly the mind, can find many ingenious ways of shutting them down and allowing us to carry on regardless. You’ll be surprised with what you can achieve when faced with deadlines, and how much work you can get done when your back’s against the wall. But, eventually, there is a breaking point; the last thing you want is to be facing your final exams and dealing with physical exhaustion. Your brain, and memory, simply doesn’t function as well when sleep deprived and flooded with Cortisol. So tackle all your future stress before it arrives. Plan your workload miles in advance, and always budget ‘you’ time when you need it.

Perspective is key

Having a mindful attitude towards what your body is telling you is vital, especially at times of increased pressure. Take time to step away from both work and study at some stage every day, and more so at the weekends. Go for a walk, see a movie, or spend time with loved ones. Do whatever you need to in order to distract your mind from the amount of information you are consuming and analysing. And don’t forget to breathe if you find yourself overwhelmed. Meditation and relaxation techniques are more effective the more they are used.

There are very few problems that a proper night’s sleep will not help with. In fact, having a good sleeping regimen is one of the best ways to balance the mind and the body. REM sleep is where your unconscious mind processes all that information and commits it to memory. Try to have the same cut off point every evening for work or study and take some time to relax before bed; you won’t sleep if you’re still turning the day’s problems and challenges over in your head.

Enjoy your learning

The benefits of studying something new and expanding your horizons will be lost if you don’t have the physical or mental health to make the most of them. Most institutions now have considerable supports in place to assist students in dealing with pressure and stress. Be positive, be practical and be kind to yourself… but most importantly, never be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.


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