We've all met that clever, high-achieving student who appears to be perfect at everything. Not only does he/she perform well in tests, but he/she also appears to be in excellent mental and emotional health, with a fantastic social life even towards the end of the term in year 12!
While most of us start with full motivation, we are overridden with stress towards the end of the term and seeing other students relaxed adds up to all that pressure. If you are looking for tips on how to avoid burnout, manage stress and develop a self-care plan you are in the right place.
Self- Care is extremely important for high-school students. Self-care is any activity where you promote your own mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. It won’t be the same activities for every person, but many will be similar. It's all about building a balance in your life by paying attention to your physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual health.
It could be the little ‘me-time’ that you have on weekends where you pamper yourself with some cold coffee, listen to your favourite music, spend some quality time with family and friends, have a relaxing bath or indulge in a hobby/sport that you enjoy. If you need help developing the right mindset for year 12, it's not too late.
Advantages of Self-Care
· Moods are consistently better as we indulge in self-care activities frequently.
· You would feel recharged, more optimistic and ready to take up challenges.
· This would mean you would be more productive in the tasks at hand. You would be able to learn better and manage the tasks at hand.
· Managing stress would be easier and you would feel more healthy, confident and happier easing anxiety.
Limit time on social media
Social media can be a great source of information and scrolling through memes on Instagram may sound like a great way to chill. However, try to limit time on social media as it can have negative effects too like peer pressure, cyber-bullying and sleep disruption to name a few.
Get enough sleep!
Try to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every day. If that sounds impossible, you might need to refine your time management skills. We all must have heard about students who would complete all their work and go to bed at 8 pm even during exam times. They recognize the importance of good sleep for a healthy body and a refreshed mind. You may not realize it, but the amount and quality of sleep you get each night can impact the way your immune system functions, your mood and much more! Getting consistent and high-quality sleep can improve all aspects of your health.
Eat a well-balanced diet and engage in some form of exercise.
It has been proven that a healthy diet and exercise along with staying hydrated boost productivity. Try meditation/yoga if you have been feeling anxious about the upcoming test try practising some breathing techniques. Simple techniques like breathing in slowly through your nose, counting to five, and then slowly breathing out can be very effective. Trying out a new cardio routine or a sport or even walking around is a great way of physical self-care and promotes health too.
Maintain a journal to record your thoughts/feelings.
It is an excellent way to went out of frustration and stress. For example- if you love drawing, try making an art journal. Art journals would help you creatively express your thoughts and emotions in your daily life. What's more- it could be fun playing around with colours and paints for a while. It also aids in decluttering your mind and providing a sense of clarity when you pen down your thoughts on paper. This fits well in emotional self-care and spiritual self-care.
Take mini breaks while learning.
While it may appear counterintuitive, working hard and then taking breaks helps you maintain focus and peak potential. Nothing is more frustrating for a student than working for hours when distracted or weary, only to realise you didn't learn anything because you weren't in the correct mindset. Taking breaks allows you to refresh your mind and ready yourself to continue working hard. On the other hand, if you put off taking a break and overwork yourself, you are more likely to burn out or fail to retain the information.
If you loved swimming and stopped it after moving to high school- consider restarting it. Spending an hour or two in the pool on weekends would provide extra energy for the week ahead. Practising a hobby can be a beneficial part of your self-care routine. Activities like gardening, hiking or martial arts can get you moving and help you have a good time. And hobbies that challenge or focus your mind — think crafting, doing puzzles or listening to music — can have big mental and emotional benefits.
Listen to music.
Music is therapy. We have heard this before, but the therapeutic effects of music have been proved by science. You probably don’t need a clinical study to prove that listening to your favourite playlist will put a smile on your face and uplift your self-esteem.
Spend some time with families and friends.
The end of term does not mean isolating yourselves from the rest of the world and studying. This would just add stress. Why not spend some quality time with your family/friends? Playing a board game or hanging out with friends sounds like a great idea, right? Accept care from others. Remember, your circle of family and friends is crucial to your well-being.
Try an after-school activity/club.
Many schools offer after-school activities like sports, crafts, music, drama and debate. This could be an opportunity to find something new about yourself too.
Set realistic goals for yourself and set a priority list.
The key is to not overburden yourself with unrealistic goals. Set goals that you can achieve within the specified time. Embrace positivity and adopt a growth mindset. Change that ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’t or even ‘Let me try this’.
The concept of SMART goals is very helpful in this regard. SMART goals stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic and time-bound goals.
Sometimes keeping your thoughts to yourself could add to that extra stress, instead try to seek help if you find yourself too overwhelmed. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. You can speak to a family member, a trusted friend, your teachers, or a counsellor. If you need some help with subject content, you find difficult or want to discuss your academic struggles, exam tips and study techniques try speaking to one of the KIS tutors. We’ve had our struggles in high school, and we would be more than happy to support you in your final years of schooling.
What does it mean to do self-care?
Personal care involves taking time for yourself and your mental health. Taking care of your mind, body, etc. Caring for the people you are with may help relieve stress on your own and redirect it appropriately.
Q2. How to avoid burnout?
Prioritizing and setting goals would help avoid burnout. Avoid procrastinating at all costs. Procrastination adds up to the stress levels during the end of the term and creates difficult situations. Instead remain focused throughout the term and revise concepts regularly. But also make sure to take care of yourself and learn to reward yourself for the hard work you have done. Make sure to develop and follow the self-care plan you have made for yourself.
Q3. What activity should I do when I am overwhelmed/anxious to calm myself down?
Different people enjoy different activities so you would know best how to calm yourself down. Try taking up a new hobby/sport, spending time in nature, or spending time with family or a friend to balance the negative emotions with positivity. Read a book, meditate, speak to your parents, watch your favourite Netflix show- anything that would help you relax and unwind. Coming back to the situation with a calmer mind would provide you with different perspectives and probably even a strategy to tackle the issue.
Written by KIS Academics Tutor Aakrati Sathish Shetty. Aakrati tutors primary and secondary students in science, mathematics and English. She also tutors high school students in the following subjects- Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Aakrati is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University and has received stellar reviews from her past KIS Academics students. You can view Aakrati's profile and request her as a tutor.