Break Free from the Holiday Slump

The holiday break has come to an end. Over the past month, students have taken a well-deserved break from studying, researching, test-taking, and cramming for finals. Many may feel ready to hit the books once again, but still others may be reluctant to ditch Netflix and return to a life of assignments and due dates. To make the transition a little bit easier, follow these four simple strategies to sharpen your concentration in preparation for the new term.

Environment

Clean up the clutter. A new term provides the opportunity to create a new routine. You might find that making your bed in the morning, cleaning the kitchen after meals, and having an organized workspace limits distractions and allows you to prepare and focus on assignments and readings. Developing and sustaining attentive focus also extends to your electronics. Maintaining emails and notifications on your smartphone or tablet frees up storage, eliminates spam, and creates space for important emails from your professors and classmates.

Health

Know your body. Having a good diet is essential to establishing heightened concentration. When you’re hungry or poorly nourished, you’re more likely to feel irritable, tired, and distracted. As students, it’s always easier to find something quick and cheap to eat, but these items tend to be less healthy and packed with sugar. The sugar high may provide a momentary boost in energy, but the inevitable crash will take a massive toll on your motivation. Figuring out the right balance of nutrition, drinking plenty of water, staying away from large amounts of suger, and exercising in a form that you enjoy are vital steps to having a clear and healthy mind.

Mindfulness

Leave the phone alone. Many distractions are initiated by a smartphone ping. The sound makes you curious, you look at the notification, and suddenly you’re hooked. Silencing your phone and placing it out of sight limits these distractions. Taking walks or running errands without your phone begins to break your dependence on the device. Completing reading assignments before bed is a good way to wind down from screentime. However, if you read on a tablet, laptop, or your phone, consider downloading a screen dimmer. A screen dimmer will give your eyes a rest and may provide a better night’s sleep.

Reading & Writing

Open a book. Most reading and writing is done through tablets, smartphones, and laptops. It’s easier to carry a tablet than multiple books, but it’s also easier to become distracted by notifications. Reading print, specifically novels, engages the mind and quickens the imagination. It’s a challenge for the reader to stay focused, but a challenge that strengthens concentration and critical thinking skills.

Learn more about Roosevelt’s health options, including fitness classes and meeting with a mental health professional, here.

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