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Study Skills (part 2/5)

Posted by on in High School
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This is the second in the UP-grade study skills series and this time, we tackle HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND.

Studying can be all-consuming, which is great if it means you’re working hard and focusing but it can also be problematic if you don’t take care of your body as a result. The healthier your body is, the better your mind functions, so make sure you are eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep so that you can study as effectively as possible. Here are some tips:

Three Meals a Day

Eating properly gives you the energy to focus on your work. A car can’t function without petrol and you can’t without food. Ensure that you are eating three good meals a day. What’s a good meal? One with a variety of foods that are healthy. You should have some protein with every meal and we all know that veggies are very good for us! Carbohydrates give us energy so include some of those, too.

Snack time

In addition to those three good meals a day, it’s important to have a few snack in between. Try and make most of these snacks healthy foods. We all love a treat like a chocolate or a packet of chips, but make sure that you’re not eating these too often as they give you a spike in energy followed by a dip, which you don’t need when you are working hard!

Try some of these snacks for an energy boost that lasts:

  • Biltong
  • Nuts
  • Fruit - fresh or dried
  • Cerial bars
  • Some cottage cheese or hummus on a cracker
  • Veggies like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, baby corn, mange tout, sugar snap peas (they’re also delicious dipped in cottage cheese or hummus!)
  • A few slices of cheese
  • Wine gums

Exercise, exercise, exercise

Exercise is the best mood-enhancer in the world and does wonders for focus. Try to get 20-30 minutes exercise every day. It doesn’t need to be very strenuous at all – a walk will do. You can also try skipping, hitting a tennis ball against a wall or swimming a few laps. Ideally, join a team sport where you will be able to socialise with your friends at the same time.

Get an A for ZZZZ

Making sure you get enough sleep while you are studying is essential. Studies show that sleep deprivation has an extremely detrimental effect on your mind and body. Staying up late night after night can make you feel depressed which is obviously not ideal when you are trying to do your best. You should be getting 8 hours sleep a night. Try to get into a routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. (Yes, even on the weekends.) Put your study materials, phone or tablet away at least half an hour before bed to let your mind settle.

Take a Break

Allowing yourself a break is essential for your mental health when you are studying. Set up a study timetable which schedules in breaks. Work on 3 sessions of 45 minutes, with 15 minute breaks. In this break do something that is not related to your studies: take a walk, have a healthy snack, chat to your mom or phone a friend (but don’t interrupt his/her studies!) Watching T.V. or playing a computer game is not a good idea unless you are disciplined enough to pull yourself away after 15 minutes. After you have done 3 hours of studying, take a longer break.

Look out for the next post in the UP-grade Study Skills series – PLAN TO SUCCEED.

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Candice is a qualified High School English teacher and guidance counsellor. She has a passion for providing practical, easy to implement advice for children to achieve their full potential at school. With a background in Psychology Candice has a particular interest in how attitude and emotions can affect academic performance.

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