Create a study schedule with realistic study periods – working within your concentration ability.
Plan regular study breaks. It’s a good idea to go outside during breaks. Take your glasses off so that you can absorb light through your eyes. This feeds the pineal gland which regulates your circadian rhythms (your sleeping and waking patterns). Try to get 20-30 minutes of sunlight per day. You can also be on a veranda to achieve this.
Breaks also relieve eye strain and tension. See eye exercises and breathing exercises at the end of this blog.
During breaks walk barefoot on the grass and breathe deeply and calmly, or go for a walk or a short run. Do whatever form of exercise you are accustomed to – it is not advisable to start something new. Make sure that you exercise daily as this will assist with mental clarity and focus.
We suggest that you split your exercise into 2 short sessions. Do one work-out in the early morning using it as an incentive to get out of bed, and then starting your study session with a clear and alert mind. Do the second session late in the afternoon to help stretch the body after an intense day of studying. At Harmonie we love Rebounding as it is a super-efficient form of exercise – see our blog on 13 June 2017.
Don’t watch TV or look at a screen during your breaks. Allow your eyes to relax and recover.
Don’t skip meals. Nourish your body deeply with natural whole foods. Remember that veggies feed the body (they provide minerals) and fruits provide the supplements (vitamins).
Keep well hydrated with good quality, preferably filtered, water. This will keep your body well flushed and will keep headaches away. Your body will thank you if you drink warm water. Ice cold water shocks your system and boiling hot water can damage your mouth and throat.
Suggestion: make infused water with lemon/orange slices or naartjie segments, or with fresh mint leaves.
It is a good idea to supplement daily with vitamin C to boost your immunity.
Having a healthy snack on your desk may work for you. It will provide nutrition to keep you alert, focused and energised.
Fresh pitted soft medjool dates can be stuffed with a whole nut eg walnut, pecan or almond. Alternatively, stuff a date with organic peanut butter or almond nut butter – the Oh Mega brand is excellent as it is nutritionally sound with added ingredients like flax oil and honey which are both excellent for brain health.
Simple Trail Mix
Mix together equal quantities of the following: Goji berries, cacao nibs, raisins, brazil nuts/walnuts/pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Keep this mixture on your desk and have small nibbles during the day when your energy is flagging.
Deep Breathing Exercise:
Sitting or standing. Make sure your posture is good. Take a deep, slow inhalation through the nostrils to fill your lungs to their capacity. Hold the breath momentarily and then slowly exhale making sure to completely empty the lungs. Pause and then repeat as many times as is necessary. Try to work towards making the timing of the inhalation equal to the exhalation. This slow and deliberate breathing technique calms the mind and the central nervous system. It's useful to employ this technique when you are nervous. It can be especially helpful before an exam starts, or during an exam if you feel as if you are running out of time.
Studying can create eye strain and eye tension. Employing this simple exercise relieves eye strain and can prevent a headache from developing. Try the 20 20 20 technique: Approximately every 20 minutes look away from our book or screen, look 20 feet away (about 6 metres) for 20 seconds. Changing your focal point regularly relieves the strain on the optic nerve which connects directly to the brain.
Preparing well for exams creates peace of mind and ensures that you remain healthy and energised throughout the exam period. Achieving good results brings you closer to realising your dreams for the future.