• Niels Bakker

Switching gears! – A game between making an effort and relaxation

It is not always easy to switch gears between making an effort and taking some time to relax. Think, for example, about the moment after an amazing holiday when you have to pick up your school work again. Or the other way around; if you are going on a holiday and you first have to calm down from all the study-related pressure. After a day of studying it is not easy to put your studies aside and truly relax. Let alone having to step back into the University Library after an enjoyable evening. Or, even more difficult, finding the necessary focus and energy for the upcoming exam after just finishing another.

A clear distinction between must (making an effort) and may (relaxation) is essential in creating rest and focus. How can you fully enjoy the moment again, dive into your books with complete focus or get rid of a mind that, by the end of the day, is filled with thoughts?

Let us consider this literally by means of some complicated switching-situations!

Letting go of the study-related pressure at the end of the day!

Due to the fact that studying can be seen as a lengthy process with long-term goals, we often feel little progress during the day. It is hardly ever finished! Since there is still a lot to be done, you keep pondering in the evening instead of recharging for the next day.

Tip: Plan daily concrete, realistic steps. Consider the concrete steps that you have taken and try to allow satisfaction and trust consciously after taking these steps. Gratitude meditation after a day of studying is suitable for this as well. It is not a bad thing if one of the steps could not be done successfully, but try to re-plan this step somewhere else in your planning of an exam or deadline. This way, you stay in control, which will give you peace! In order to realize re-planning it is important to keep a certain amount of flexibility in your planning.

Regain your focus after a fun evening!

Since stress and/or insecurity often get the upper hand during exam periods, the average student tends to resolve the process of letting this go by means of a considerate amount of beer during their nightlife. Short term, this may feel good, but there are methods that last longer. Sometimes you turn to certain outlets and that is not a bad thing whatsoever. You do this to help you continue studying, which then turns out to be more difficult than anticipated.

Tip: Keep the blood flow going! Do a small workout in the morning, using the 7-minute workout app, for example. Make sure to have a nutritious and healthy breakfast at home that is not too heavy. Say a healthy smoothie, for instance. Taking a shower and turning it cold for thirty seconds never hurt anybody either. Scream at the top of your longs for a little while and afterwards try to get your breathing calm and low (use your belly instead of your breast). This is part of the Wim Hof Iceman method.

Switching between exams!

We all know the unrealistic ways in which exam periods are planned. Worst case scenario, you have two exams on the same day! Estimating how much time you need to study for every exam remains difficult, even if you have a few days between them.

Tip: Take some time after every exam to write down the most difficult questions/themes for conscious closure. Consequently, your thoughts are written down on paper instead of being stuck inside your head and you can focus on the right subjects for a possible re-sit. You could also workout or take a shower. This will help you obtain positivity, energy and focus!

Letting go of the study-related pressure while on a holiday!

Taking a break every now and then certainly does not hurt if you experienced pressure during the exam period or the complete academic year. It all is very demanding after all and you are still only human!

Tip: Before going on a holiday, write down possible aspects that you have learned from the exam period, as well as intentions for the coming period. Also look at this while considering the academic year as a whole. This way, thoughts will not stay with you for too long, are provided with a level of acceptance, and can be put aside more easily. By considering a certain insight and actually dealing with it in the new block, you will notice your inner critic getting more relaxed. After all, you are doing something with these valuable lessons. As a consequence, you will avoid the same pitfalls and you will enjoy your well-deserved holiday more!

Getting back to work after a holiday!

You feel completely rested, but now there is so much to do again! Shit, you do not feel like doing anything at all. It truly is a challenge to regain focus after a period of relaxation. Before you know it, you procrastinate studying for too long.

Tip: Consider the things that you were grateful for during your holiday. Look for certain elements of the holiday that you can also take along in your study routine. Elements such as, getting closer to nature (walking every day in broad daylight works wonders!), discovering cultures (visit museums) or exercise more (take a look at the amount of student sport facilities your city has to offer)!

I hope that the concrete tips discussed in this blog can help you! Do you have a good tip to add?

Niels Bakker

Translation: Jolien Vermeulen


Wim Hof Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6k7T_5Zw8c

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Wakker bij Bakker, student coaching, BLOG: motivatie, faalangst, perfectionisme, keuzes, doelen, piekeren, planning, assertiviteit, studiekeuze, afstuderen
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