The final years of school can be a bit infuriating at times. You’re under heaps of pressure to revise and prepare for assessments and exams, but at the same time, everyone is saying that a ‘balanced’ lifestyle is the key to success. Doing both at the same time can seem virtually impossible.
However, it can be done; all it takes is making some key choices about how to handle the year to come. We figured it would be rude of us not to go through them, so here are six tips for finding that elusive ‘balanced lifestyle’.
Start studying early
Balance is all about managing your time so that one activity doesn’t end up dominating your life. Spreading the study you have to get done over the entire year, rather than just a section closer to exams, frees up your time and allows you to commit to other interests and activities that will keep you sane.
Starting early also means start organising yourself early. So, make a detailed study and assessments plan that spreads all your material over the course of the year, map out exactly when your assessments will be, how long you think you need to leave yourself to study before them and plan what you’ll need to have done for each exam or assessment. It may seem like a chore now, and a lot of effort for no reason, but it will not only save you stress down the line, it will also give you the chance to have a life outside revision throughout the whole year because you’ll know exactly what weekends you’ll have free and what days you can afford to have a day off from studying.
Pick the right hobbies
There’s no need for us to go into the importance of hobbies – everyone knows how valuable a cherished pastime is. Keeping up the most enjoyable and fulfilling activities in your life is an absolute must in your final years.
However, keeping up every enjoyable and fulfilling activity is just not feasible. If you play soccer, take yoga classes, and adore gaming for hours, one or two of these is going to have to be parked for the time being or even cut down to a more irregular activity as opposed to an every week activity.
Ask yourself what hobbies give you the most enjoyment and value, as well as have the least chance of derailing your schoolwork, and stick with them. Having that outlet will be key for getting away from the books for a while and is the perfect way to hit the balance sweet spot.
Eat well, sleep well, and exercise
They’re technically all different tips, but we can probably bracket these under the same umbrella as they all have a common thread – look after your body.
“A healthy body is a healthy mind” may be a cliche, but it’s true. Eating good meals at regular times, getting plenty of sleep (which also involves avoiding screen time late at night), and maintaining your physical fitness have a HUGE knock-on effect for the rest of your daily life. Not only will healthy eating and a goodnight’s sleep make you feel less sluggish, but you’ll also have more brain energy to get through your day without feeling like your brain is no longer functioning. Make all three a priority in year 11 and 12 and you’ll be better off for it in the long run.
Whether you despise friend drama, or you secretly love something to gossip about, it’s not a good thing for your headspace in your final years of school. If you’re constantly having to deal with clashes or crises in your friend group, you’ll have to deal with the stress of not only the drama but also the effect it has on your revision and life in general.
Do yourself a favour and steer clear of it. If your friends are all stressing over some scandal at the party last weekend, leave them to it. There will be plenty of time for drama when school’s over, but in the interest of getting there with minimal anxiety, avoiding unnecessary drama will be something you’re glad you did.
Spend time with other people
However, just to be clear, avoiding drama does not mean avoiding your friends. If you’re going to stay balanced this year, you’ll need the support and guidance of the important people in your life.
Studying can be a lonely process, so when you’re not revising, make sure to get plenty of exposure to friends and family. They’ll help you maintain a healthy perspective and provide some much-needed relief from revision and exams. Newsflash: people are good, so don’t ignore them!
Have fun weekends, not wild ones
Yes, the weekend is for unwinding, and avoiding late nights or parties altogether would be overkill. But the weekend is also, like it or not, a key time to study without the distraction of school.
If you’re having two wild, late nights every weekend, you’re likely to have two very unproductive days, putting a strain on the rest of the week and throwing your study-life balance completely out. Have fun within reason, and you’ll be able to keep that balance right throughout the year.
Keeping things balanced all the time won’t be easy, especially when you get to that squeaky near-exams period, but if you stick to these suggestions you’ll give yourself a strong chance of keeping it all under control. Having a balanced mind also allows you to have a bit of perspective of the two years and maybe you’ll be able to look at them with a sane mind, without the pressure and stress that usually comes along with it.