Stress, a feeling almost every human on this planet is familiar with. Whether it be stress for that up-coming assignment, the exam right around the corner or just the constant chaos that is your life, we all experience this. As an IBDP student we face stress on a daily basis if not hourly, and we are not really taught how to manage it. With deadline after deadline and May exams just around the corner, we want to share five tips to help you clear your mind.
1. Study smart, not hard!
This phrase is popular for a reason, and is definitely a method everyone should adopt. Working smart does not mean working less, but rather directing your attention and effort in an efficient manner. There are many techniques of how one can work smarter, and this is a very subjective discussion. However there are some certified techniques that will definitely help you, if you are a bit lost
● The pomodoro effect– this method is great for study exams especially. It’s based only on giving yourself 25 minutes of pure concentration and focus, followed by a 5 minute break. This method ensures one that when you are working you are really working, thus avoiding procrastination (the biggest killer to our grades). If you abide by this rule, you can see some amazing results of your hard work and still allow yourself some room to breathe.
● Active recall- this technique is a great tool not just for studying, but also for life! Active recall, refers to the technique of learning a topic, creating questions for yourself and repeatedly testing your knowledge. With this method you get concrete evidence on your ability and you have a clear pathway on where to work.
● Triage your work- This is incredibly important for organising priority to your studying material. By organising your topics from most important to least, you can direct your focus to where it is needed. A great way to practically achieve this is by colour coding (red, yellow, and green) your syllabus. Highlight each topic/theme on how much attention it needs, and work your way down.
Now this may be a very generic comment, however its importance is anything but. Exercise does not just mean spending 45 minutes at the gym or running for 2 hours. It can mean whatever you desire to do, like stretching, walking around your house or neighbourhood, dancing, boxing, jumping rope. Physical exercise is so important and your body needs it to survive, hence during times of stress you simply cannot neglect this. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, reduces tension and overall leaves one feeling much better than when they started. Find what works for you and try and fit it in whenever during the day you feel the need to let some stress go.
3. Self care
Self-care has become a very popular topic of late and I am sure most of you are familiar with the concept. Self care can honestly look like anything that works for you. Something as simple as reading for 10 minutes before bed or baking cookies during your study break or even going for a run by the beach or park. Self care is giving your mind, body and soul a break and nourishing it the way it deserves.
4. Have a good support system
This is something that helped me personally during my experience with the IBDP. A support system is not something one can take for granted and it is so needed in those moments of stress and anxiety. Your support system does not have to be huge, it just needs to make you feel safe and cared for. Surround yourself with people that help your mental health and create a positive environment to be around.
5. Just breathe!
Never underestimate the power of breathing and the calmness it can bring to one. Multiple research studies have shown the benefits of meditation and how it can play a vital role in anxiety and stress. There are many apps that even have breathing cycles that you can follow when you are in critical moments of stress. By regulating your breath and switching your focus away from the trigger, you allow your body to slowly come back to its normal state.
I hope these tips and tricks can help you conquer your stress. However, it is very important that if you feel overwhelmed or you cannot cope please seek out the help. Reach out to your nearest doctor, clinic or counsellor to aid you in getting professional help. Remember you are not alone, you will get through it and you are nearly there!
Written By Thireena Mudley.