Have you started to worry about your summer exams yet? Have your teachers begun to lecture you on the importance of being promoted to the next year? Do you face similar stresses at home, where you worry about how you’re going to fit revision into an already packed schedule? Perhaps you are a parent, forced to watch your children suffer in this way. For students from primary school to grad school, education can seem like an endless cycle of stress and drudgery. Not only is long-term stress detrimental to physical and mental health, it impedes our capacity to rationalise matters and think creatively. In order to continue to function at your best, you need to gain perspective.
This is harder than it sounds because it involves building time and behaviours into your schedule that might, on the surface, appear fatuous, yet these are the things that help you to get out of bed in the morning and keep you going in the long run. The first thing you should do is made time to get away. This can be though travel, which is always wonderful for helping you to contextualise your own situation, but it can also be as simple as hiking on the weekend or walking through the park after a long day. The next thing you need to do is treat yourself. This is not retail therapy, this is self-care. With this in mind, try to go for a massage, stay in bed on a Sunday morning, or stock up of some new books. Pick things that are nurturing.
You should also be seeking good company on a regular basis. There is a great deal of research which indicates that friends rather than relatives have the greater formative impact. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with good people. If your best friends gossip constantly and never do anything interesting, you might want to make some social readjustments. Who needs this poison in their daily lives? At the same time, it’s important to spend time alone. During difficult periods, it is tempting to fill time with chatty and distracting people, too many social events, or even loud music. You need to create time to spend alone, preferably in silence, so that you can process what you’re going through. Distraction techniques are a junk cure, and are merely delaying an inevitable crash. Spending this time meditating or doing yoga is useful, but not essential.
Above all, remember why you’re here and focus on a wider goal. You’re not cramming for a chemistry test so you can be the best in the class, but so you can realise your dream of being a doctor. You’re not writing a paper for the grades, you’re doing it so that when you become a journalist, your prose will be faultless. A bigger picture helps put smaller worries out of your mind.
© 晉博教育中心 Brighten Youth Education Centre