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How To Prevent School From Taking Over Your Life

Constant cups of coffee, panic attacks before exams, eyebags for days, and tons of memes about stress. Sound familiar?
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The thing is, a lot of us forget our own mental health to keep up with the grind. This can easily lead to burnout. Workaholic culture looks a lot like this: constant cups of coffee, panic attacks before exams, eyebags for days, and tons of memes about stress. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever felt like there’s always work that needs to be done and not nearly enough time to do it, you’re not alone.

Here are some tips to feel less overwhelmed by school:

Take frequent but small breaks

As much as we may think that studying for three-hour chunks is commendable, it’s simply not the right path for everyone. It could actually lead to quick burnout. Instead, try to study in 30 minutes to one-hour chunks with breaks in between. Those breaks could be spent with a snack or a quick stretch from your desk. Take time to recharge—just make sure that the following study sprints are spent being productive instead of tired and groggy.

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Get lots of sleep

Speaking of grogginess, it’s really important for students to get some sleep! While it’s ambitious to aim for an ideal of 9 and a half hours each night, try your best to get at least eight hours. By giving time for our bodies to rest, we are making sure that they are prepped for the next big day. Think of the human body as a phone that needs recharging. Don’t put your body through more stress by being constantly on low bat. Treat your your body’s energy like a phone so that your attention span levels are maxed out for the following morning! 

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Engage in an extracurricular you genuinely enjoy

Whether it’s the painting or basketball, we need an outlet outside of school to focus on something other than our to-do lists. Every week, try to carve out some time for passions outside of studying. Don’t have a passion yet? Use a couple of hours each week to try new activities. These activities don’t have to be expensive as they can include learning a new language via free apps like Duolingo or coding classes via Codecademy.com

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Get up and work out

This is a bit related to the previous point but we wanted to stress the importance of exercise (working out actually improves your brainpower!). As someone who is practically married to my Google Calendar, I’m usually on a call or working on a project. That’s why I make time to workout at least once a week. Working out isn’t just great for my physical health but also my mental one—it’s what keeps me sane. For a couple of hours each week, I box or jog away all my worries and simply don’t think about what’s stressing me out at the moment. It’s like my brain unplugs and focuses on the next jab or step instead. For people like me who tend to overthink, working out is the best way to de-stress and worry less!

See the bigger picture

At the end of the day, it’s important to view school from a wider perspective. Know that your test or homework is just one component of your entire school life and that more opportunities to succeed will come. Know that the internship could lead to a job offer or just be a great learning experience. Take everything in stride and see hurdles as stepping stones to victory! 

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Hopefully, these tips will help in de-stressing and making us the best we can be. With time and practice, applying these tips could help us all to produce better work (and hopefully a happier life!). 

This article originally appeared on Edukasyon.ph.

Minor edits have been made by the candymag.com editors.

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Audrey Pe for Edukasyon.ph
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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