Studying can be stressful and struggling through your studies is never fun. This may sound like a statement made by Captain Obvious, but it is important to remember when it comes to education; it can remind you to work smarter, not harder, to make studying less stressful. It is no secret that it’s easier – and more fun – to study the subjects that you understand well. When you know the answer to something, your confidence goes up. On the other hand, if you forget a formula, definition or theory, you might get frustrated. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. In this post, we will give you some easy do’s and don’ts while exploring three ways to make studying less stressful!
Study with a Learner (study buddy)
Studying is tough! You have to stay focused and ignore all the distractions vying for your attention – the notifications on your phone, friends asking you to hang out, the sunny outdoors, or any of the 100 other distractions that pop up every day. One way to help you stay focused is to work with another Learner. Getting a friend or classmate to study with is an excellent way to make studying less stressful. In life, almost everything is better when you do it with someone else, studying is no different!
When it comes to studying, you and another Learner can keep each other accountable and make sure you keep your nose in the books. You can also tackle the problem subjects in tandem, build flashcards to review, and quiz each other. Not everyone retains all the information that they are reading from a book or screen. If you mix in human interaction and interactive quizzes, your retention will improve. This will translate to better grades! If you ever wondered – Are good grades important? Check out our article to find out! Ok, back to making studying less stressful.
Tips on working with another Learner
- Work in a comfortable, quiet place with minimal distractions.
- Get a timer and commit to working for a set period of time (I suggest 45-minute increments) with no distractions or breaks.
- Tell the other what you plan on doing or accomplishing in that time.
- Completely focus on what you plan to accomplish when the timer starts. No social media, no cell phone, nothing other than your tasks for that time period.
- Take a 5-10 minute break when the timer goes off, get some fresh air or a snack.
- After the break take 5 minutes each to tell what you did/accomplished. Briefly explain the concepts you learned.
Take study breaks
I know, I know, I just spent the last paragraph explaining how important it was to keep your nose in the books and not get distracted. However, there is a difference between being distracted and allowing yourself quality study break time. It is good to stand up, stretch, and take deep breaths to help your mind relax. This is especially true when you are reviewing difficult material.
Even taking a short nap (also known as a power nap) makes studying less stressful and helps you rejuvenate to keep studying. Make it a game for yourself. If you have two hours of productive studying, your study break can be going outside for a walk or taking a power nap. If you can only last one hour, you can take a break, but you have to stay indoors. Perhaps for every 45 continuous minutes you study, you can hop on Instagram for 5 minutes. You set the limits, but challenge yourself so that a quality study period results in a reward that will motivate you. Nailing down this system will make studying less stressful and benefit you in school and beyond.
Tips on taking study breaks
- Take short, regular, planned breaks. Do not take spontaneous or long breaks.
- Stretch and move during the short breaks. Do not sit for a long time.
- Drink water and have nutritious snacks. Do not study on an empty stomach.
- Limit the devices you use such as phones, tablets, television, and other devices that aren’t related to your studies.
Sleep on it
The idea of an all-nighter is somewhat romanticized when it comes to studying. As if, somehow, working so much that you don’t have time to sleep is A. productive and B. healthy. This is not the case! Sleep is extremely important. You want to be awake, alert, and active when you are preparing for that big test.
You don’t want to be exhausted to the point where you are struggling to stay awake, let alone remember important formulas, definitions or theories. A lack of sleep can prevent overworked neurons in your brain from recovering properly, resulting in a loss of ability to access previously learned information.
If you take a short nap as a study break, try quizzing yourself afterward to see if you remember what you just learned. This is a good way to see how well you are able to retain the information you just reviewed. This will show how well the information “stuck” because you are not relying on short-term memory.
Tips to help you get better sleep
- Establish a regular bedtime and bedtime routine – be in bed by 11:30pm, do deep breathing exercises for 2 minutes while listening to the relaxing sounds of nature.
- Regular exercise improves your overall health of course, but it also tires your body so you can maximize your quality of sleep at night. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, that is enough to keep you healthy. If you want to go above and beyond, stretch or do yoga before you sleep.
- Do not use your phone, the computer, or watch TV while in bed. These devices arouse your senses, keep you awake, and prevent your brain from “winding down”.
- Do not eat a lot before sleeping, doing so will make your digestive system work overtime when your body should be resting. If you are hungry, eat something light before sleeping such as fruit or yogurt.
We know that studying can stressful. If you find someone to do it with, take periodic breaks, and make sure to get enough sleep, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to succeed. Making these steps a habit will certainly make studying less stressful, help you ace that test, and improve your grades each semester. Download LearnX on the Google Play Store to find another Learner to study with. The study breaks and quality sleep are up to you!