I talk a lot about studying and planning; taking care of yourself at this time of year is just as important.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- I think mosts kids know the importance of this, but 6 hours is not enough sleep! 8-10 is ideal and the effect of sleep loss even over a few days can impact retention and performance. It’s interesting, my students who are athletes seem to listen to their coaches when they tell them to get sleep but then they don’t often apply the same mindset to school work.
- Are you eating nutritious foods?
- Just like a big dance recital or sporting event, prepping for an AP exam or the SAT is like an endurance event. You need to fuel your body with good proteins, healthy fats and healthy carbs. Sugar and processed foods are easy go-tos for the short term, but you’ll be hungry less than an hour after consuming them. (I’ve seen it, I live with two teenagers and a tween who love to binge on chips and goldfish).
- Are you making time to clear your head?
- This is a hard one for kids to get on board with, but I am a big advocate for meditation, or if that’s too much, a few minutes of quiet time or slow breathing can have beneficial effects. Stress and anxiety can do a number on our brains and bodies. “When the stakes are high, the emotions usually match. And with emotions swirling, it’s not always easy to sit down and focus — fear of failure, test anxiety, procrastination, or busy schedules can get in the way of dedicated study or prep time.” Read more here. Headspace is a great resource and an app I *try* to use daily.
Lastly, make time, and yes, I mean schedule time for play. The researcher Stuart Brown calls play “Time spent without purpose“. Goof off, get outside, go for a walk, play with your dog; down time is a critical part of productivity.
You’ve got this; we are here to help if you are in need of support or have any questions.