Are your studies stressing you out? Cut your anxiety levels with these simple strategies compiled by a man who understands student stress, Open Colleges’ very own Program Manager (Photography), Antony Cirocco.
Study anxiety affects us all in varying degrees. Sometimes it comes in the form of procrastination, sometimes as an avoidance of assignments. For others, it is more paralysing and for these students it’s important to reach out to your trainers for support.
Signs you could be suffering study anxiety include:
- Muscle tension
- Repetitive and intrusive thoughts
If you feel like you’re suffering from study anxiety, give the six strategies below a go:
Have a wander around OpenSpace and a look at the course overview and content to get an understanding of the study journey ahead of you.
From here, you can begin planning how you will make your way through it. Will it be an hour a day? Studying for a half day on Saturdays? Or more? Having a scheduled plan is one of the best study strategies you could ever employ.
After reading through your course overview, you could also have a look for tools and apps that may assist you through your studies.
Take care of yourself
Make sure you prioritise your health. Have regular GP check-ups, make exercise a part of your daily routine (you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel) and don’t reach for quick sugar fixes – they may taste good and give you an instant boost when you’re stressed, but in the long run, they won’t make you feel better. Instead, try to feed your body nutritious foods that will help it when it is under stress.
Set goals for the amount of time you will study each week and when you want to submit each assessment. It may be helpful for you to use a digital calendar and set assignment reminders in your phone or computer.
As I mentioned earlier, if you plan how you will study before you even start, you will save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety. By breaking down the study ahead, you will begin to view it less as a mountain to climb and more like a path to success where the way is clear and you are in control.
It’s important, however, to be flexible in your approach to study. Life is never linear, things happen that are out of your control. Sometimes, you can’t help it if the kids get sick, or you have unexpected things crop up. Don’t be afraid to change your plans when required.
Find a friend to study with, or someone who will support your study efforts 110%.
When you chat to them, it’s important that you try to stay positive. When you get bogged down focusing on the difficulties of study, it can sap you of motivation.
Make sure you spend time listening to your study buddy’s stories, and take time to celebrate each other’s successes.
Give yourself little rewards when you do well, or when you reach study milestones.
Get ahead of problems by spending some time brainstorming possible threats to the successful completion of your study. These could be anything from a lack of motivation, to getting distracted by the kids and family, or getting sick.
Next, work out an action plan to help you minimise these threats.
Overworking can also be a big issue when you study. Trying to “do it all” can add strain to an already stressed and anxious mind.
If you feel that you are pushing yourself too hard, have a look at your life and see where you could cut back. Maybe you could decrease your work hours temporarily? (never quit a job to study, this will create more problems than it fixes). Or could you consider cutting down on the amount of hours you are studying per week and plan to finish your course a little later than you expected?
If you are not working and are looking to balance your life with a bit more work experience, it may be a good idea to have a look at jobs in your chosen field before you finish study, or to go for an internship.
Connect with your trainers
Reaching out and forming a connection with your trainer can be hugely beneficial for your study. Students who reach out, show respect and ask relevant questions are rewarded with helpful advice and a support network outside of family and friends. It really can make a world of difference to your studies.
Having a positive dialogue with your trainer can also help to reduce stress as you are able to communicate your questions and concerns as they crop up, and get help for them before they become bigger issues.
Antony’s final thoughts
The Open Colleges training staff are here to help and if you feel like you have been holding off for a long time, or you are afraid to take the first proactive steps with your study then please contact your trainer via email. Your trainer will get you started. In serious cases of stress, we can advise you on the best support services to seek.
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