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Study Well, Stay Well

The Study Well, Stay Well guide brings together information, guidance and resources on how you can balance your wellbeing with your studies.

Introduction

 
Healthy Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.
(Aristotle cited by Zeller, 2019) 

What does success to you mean and how do you measure it? This may mean achieving a first-class degree, becoming an engineer, having a meaningful long-term relationship, owning your own house, or establishing financial security. Whatever this looks like to you, it is the steps that you take to get there that count, and this involves establishing good automatic study habits and reducing those habits that are less helpful.  

Healthy Habits: The Basics

Creating healthy habits are essential to success, but they require motivation, consistency, determination, and a strategic approach! Establishing healthy habits can influence the desired outcome and help you work smarter not harder. This can include habits such as creating a routine, setting goals, finding the right study environment, being organised, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Create a schedule

Developing a routine allows you to use your time more effectively and helps you to maximise your peak performance. This might seem quite confined and restrictive, but it may mean you can achieve more in less time! However, It is important to be realistic with your planning and time management and not over stretch yourself.

To do this, consider scheduling in time for studying, attending lectures and other commitments such as hobbies, sports, or socials and establish a pattern which you can stick to. Think about when you work best to be more productive; for example, if it is morning, break it up into manageable chunks of time and allocate tasks, incorporating breaks and rewards to enable you to stay focussed. Try to do this for several weeks, so this becomes an automatic habit and do not become despondent if you go off track as distractions and unforeseeable events do happen.

Learn more: Creating a schedule

Add a link here to a Skills Centre resource for creating a schedule - do we have a downloadable resource.

To plan for a deadline, use the online Assignment Calculator to plan how much time to spend on planning, writing and proofreading.

Create a suitable study environment 

A good study environment provides the foundation for effective learning. It supports concentration, reduces stress, and contributes to a positive and productive study experience. Here are some key elements to consider. 

  • Choose a location that’s free from distraction. This could be in your own home, a space on campus or in the library. By choosing an area with minimal distractions, you are more likely to stay focused on your work. You can book a PC on campus online before you arrive.

  • Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation as this can help you to feel more awake and engaged. The more natural the light the better as this can reduce eye strain, reduce tiredness, and fatigue. 

  • Keep your workspace organised and clutter free and ensure you have everything you need such as books, notes and other materials to hand so that you are more productive. Use folders, binders and storage solutions to keep study materials in order. 

  • Minimise distractions by keeping things such as smart phones and social media out of reach and avoid browsing unnecessary websites, consider using apps to block access to these distractions and turn off notifications while you are studying. 

  • If you are studying at home, personalise your workspace so that you feel more motivated. You can add things to create a more positive atmosphere, such as motivational quotes, pictures or other things that might inspire you. 

Healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle at university is vital as it can directly impact your mental, physical, emotional, and academic wellbeing. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise, and proper nutrition can enhance your concentration, memory, and cognitive function. It can also help to alleviate stress, burnout and enhance your productivity.

Setting boundaries

Setting boundaries are crucial for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle and this means establishing standards and expectations of ourselves, friends, family, and others whist interacting at university. We need to set boundaries to enable us to feel respected, ensure we prioritise our own needs and wants and reduce conflict in our relationships. In doing this we can boost our self-esteem and confidence and create a safe and supportive environment.  

According to Tea Angelos (2023), there are six types of boundaries that can apply to all aspects of our life, and these are: physical, emotional, material/ financial, time, intellectual and sexual.  If we think about each of these distinct aspects, we will find that there are times when circumstances arise requiring us to set boundaries to protect ourselves: for example, if someone is putting additional demands on our time and wanting us to do something for them, it is okay to say ‘no’ to ensure your emotional and physical needs are met. This is not selfish: it is simply a powerful way of asserting control and giving yourself the time to focus on your own priorities.

Further reading

Attend a session

Time Management

Do you want to learn to plan your studies and manage your workload more effectively? This webinar includes tips and techniques that will benefit you in your studies and beyond. Can't make a live session? Watch a recording online.

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