6 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care While Studying

Here's how to keep your body and mind in the best shape to help you ace those tests.

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Let’s face it, being a student is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Between balancing studies, extracurriculars, and social life, it isn’t surprising that young Americans are feeling more stressed than ever. Nearly half of Gen Z students think they aren’t doing enough to manage their stress, and with classes, papers, exams, and standardized tests, students are spread really thin.

You wouldn’t believe how much of an impact your mental health can have on your studies. Getting ready for these major academic milestones doesn’t just mean hitting the books -- it means finding out how to put yourself in the healthiest mindset to reach your goals.

If you’re feeling burned out, try these simple self-care tips for studying.

1. Unplug and log off social media.

If keeping up with your followers is causing too much of a distraction, take time to log out of -- or even fully delete -- apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Social media is a great way to feel connected to the world around you, but the constant flow of information can also be extremely overwhelming. Removing the apps from your phone is the easiest step to take when you’re swamped with studying or just in need of a cleanse.

If you do need a distraction, try not to turn to your phone right away. Instead, New York-based psychologist Dr. Paulette Sherman recommends, “some deep breathing, spending time in nature, laughing over lunch with a friend, or dancing to your favorite song. This can change your energy, calm you, give you energy, and boost your morale.”

2. Find a comfortable study space.

Everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to study spaces. Some people work really well silent spaces, while others find it too quiet and uncomfortable. Some people are most productive in their own rooms because it’s a familiar space (if you’re like me, you’re too tempted by the possibility of taking a nap to focus on getting things done). When settling down to study, it’s important to find a balance between comfort and structure. Find a place without outside distractions so you can be in your most productive, focused headspace.

3. Set aside 30 minutes to be active.

Marathon sessions might sound like the best option ahead of a big exam, but taking intermittent breaks can help you stay centered and relaxed. Going for a walk, stretching for a few minutes, or doing some quick yoga gives you a healthy distraction and can even renew your energy. Allow yourself to step away from your work and shut your brain off for a few minutes -- you’ll probably feel more focused when you return.

4. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.

It sounds silly to put this simple thing on a self-care list, but students often put hydration and fuel on the backburner during high-stress periods. Give your body the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy, alert, and focused. Carry a water bottle with you and be sure you always have a healthy snack in your bag; ignoring your appetite will leave you sluggish and unproductive. You can even download this app to set reminders and hold yourself accountable to getting your eight glasses of water a day.

5. Make a 20-minute playlist of essential tunes.

There are so many different opinions when it comes to what type of music makes for the best study playlist. You can stick to what you know you like, keeping your favorite artists or albums in rotation. Or you can choose something on the simple side, like instrumental movie scores or acoustic covers of pop hits. Playlists like these keep you focused and calm, instantly making your study space a more enjoyable atmosphere. If studying with music isn’t your favorite, try an app like Noisli to create your perfect studying environment and increase productivity.

6. Reach out to friends when you need a break.

One of the best ways to recharge is to spend time with the people you care about most. Whether that means your roommates, classmates, or family members, take the time to check in and talk about your day with someone you trust. Keeping all your feelings bottled up will only increase your stress level. As DoSomething's former Community & Impact Manager Adam Garner says, even “a 30-minute conversation about something you love with someone you care about can do wonders for your brain.” Surround yourself with people who will support and care for you when you need it most.

DoSomething.org is the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change. Our digital platform is activating 6 million young people (and counting!) to create offline impact in every US area code and in 131 countries.


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