Written by Nicholas Laracy
From my own experience, there is a misconception amongst many people, both at university and in the workforce, that to be stressed means you are working, and to be productive means you are working around the clock. However, what I have found is that I am most productive when I am most relaxed, especially considering the creativity that is often required to solve issues with assessment and to complete these to a high standard.
While there is admittedly a huge workload at particular times throughout the semester, it is important to take a step back from this when stress is causing you to focus more on your sweaty palms than the task at hand. One of the simplest ways to do this is by stepping away from the computer, putting down your phone, and making a cup of tea. The 15 minutes it takes to boil the kettle and sit down with a cup of tea will in no way impede on the final result of your assessment, but it is guaranteed that sitting in silence with your own thoughts for this time will help provide clarity and allow you to be reminded of anything you may have missed amidst your initial stress fuelled attempt.
Likewise, going for a walk and calling people in your class is a great way not only to unwind but clearly discuss any topics or ideas that are flying around your head. You will find that after doing this, and perhaps writing some dot points on your iPhone notes while you walk, will allow you to sit back down at the computer and write with more purpose.
Creating a peaceful space to work in can often help to settle down and get in the right zone to focus, which could be by putting on a record, turning on a diffuser, or simply taking your laptop to a shady spot outdoors. During those hectic times of a semester, where it feels as though you are being weighed down by assessment, it could be a useful idea to look into yoga or meditation classes, or to visit a centre such as City Cavewhich exists for the aim of relaxing and rejuvenating customers.
While particular relaxation techniques don’t appeal to everyone, there is a variety of ways in which people are able to unwind. When in doubt, if you cannot get past a certain point of the required task, it is imperative to step away, take a deep breath, and be mindful that with a clearer mind you will be able to produce a greater final product.