Updated: Apr 14, 2020
As I looked around my classrooms this week there was one common feature amongst all of my students, they were tired, clearly feeling the effects of assessments and the realisation has dawned on them that they're only halfway through semester. So after a show of hands on who needed a couple of tips, I delightfully shared.
It's a really common occurrence for students, especially law students, to feel overwhelmed, tired and perhaps a little anxious at this point in the semester. After a few rather intense weeks, I am even feeling overwhelmed and tired.
Just really quickly, the last few weeks have been extremely exciting, with the main highlight of presenting at a conference, however I've also had multiple assessments due over the same weekend, on top of my weekly schedule of teaching, marking and research. I will admit, my 'self-care' has temporarily diminished due to impending deadlines and feeling as if there aren't enough hours in the day. However, since the craziness has settled, I have regained my 'balance', noting that there will always be a time each month, semester or year that your balance temporarily gets thrown out of 'whack'. Importantly, you need to ensure those imbalanced periods of time are only temporary, as extended periods of poor routine and imbalance can be detrimental to your health and will inevitably impact on your study.
So how can you recover and regain your balance? How can you prevent feeling so overwhelmed?
Well, as per usual, I cannot stress enough the importance of sleep and time-management. The first and most important aspect of your study life should be keeping a consistent sleep routine. Good sleep is also crucial. Make sure you have a dark room and avoid using your phone or laptop straight before you go to sleep. Time-management is also important, you need to factor in all your commitments, work, study, assessments and personal life (super important), this allows you to know what's coming up, when you need to concentrate on study and also how much time (realistically) you have to complete your readings and notes each week.
Breaking each subject's weekly tasks down, into smaller portions, is also a great way to overcome feeling overwhelmed. If you feel it's too daunting to read a 100pages for the next week, break it down to 20 pages per day, and it begins to feel la little more achievable. Instead of committing yourself to 6hours of study per day or on specific days, break it down to 1 hour sessions where you are completely focussed. That means, no distractions... After that hour, go for a wander, stretch your legs or have a snack. You'll be surprised how quickly you will get through the 6 hours of study, and you'll also be surprised how much work you'll get through.
Ensuring a good balance in your study routine can also prevent tiredness and that sense of feeling overwhelmed. To ensure balance, you need to know your body and know your limits. So sleep when you're tired, as study will no longer be productive. Also, take regular breaks when you feel as if your brain cannot absorb any more content.