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For many people January is a fresh start and a clean slate. Similarly for many of us it marks the mid-point of an academic year, and the downward slope towards exams, deadlines, and what can feel like the end of the world.

It can be all too easy when we’re being faced with a long list of assignments and revision to let it get on top of us and stress us out. There are things that you can do to relax however, and various studies have actually proven that when we’re feeling relaxed, we’re more likely to be productive.

The first thing that you can do to instantly lift the feeling of tension is get a good nights sleep. When stress levels are high and life without a constant To-Do list seems fictional, it can be many people’s belief that the best way to get things done is to stay up all night long. The truth couldn’t be further from this though! An insufficient amount of sleep can take a huge toll on our concentration and performance meaning that the longer we’re awake, the less work we’re actually getting done. A regular sleeping pattern of 7-8 hours a night will make you feel more alert, and focused on work during the day.

It may sound obvious, but training yourself to enter into a situation with a positive attitude can really help with making you feel calmer. The least helpful thing we can do to ourselves is imagine the worst possible scenario in a situation. Instead, when you’re faced with a challenge it is important to approach it with a ‘glass half-full’ frame of mind. If you tell yourself that you’re unable to do something, you are more likely to create a mental block in your mind. Whereas, if you sit down and say to yourself “I can do this”, you most likely will.

When we’re feeling like the weight of the world is on top of us, it can be easy to dial for a Dominoes as we quickly forget to do the weekly shop, or load our baskets up with fruit and veg. It’s so important though, when stress builds up to make sure that we’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients for our bodies. Food has a great effect on our mood, our concentration, and our energy so it’s crucial that we have a proper and balanced diet. It’s equally important to drink loads and loads of water to keep you hydrated and focused.

Get yourself an old-fashioned notepad and pen, and get planning. If you’re looking at your assignments, and your revision as one big task you’re likely to be completely overwhelmed and push it off as far into the distance as you can afford to. By writing down a carefully thought out plan, and breaking the work you have into small manageable tasks you’re mood will be lifted and you’ll soon feel able to get on with the work that previously felt impossible to you. Remember, you wouldn’t launch into a full marathon without first training for smaller, more manageable runs would you?

A final way to get rid of that horrible, stressful feeling is to do nothing. Nothing? Although it may seem hypocritical our brains do need to have time to completely clear. With persistent checklists and memo-notes up there, it can make us feel run down and prevent us from getting very far in the long run. Make sure to take some time out for yourself, listen to some music and switch off your laptop or phone at least half an hour before you go to bed. You’ll thank yourself for it!

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