Updated: Aug 26
If you want to avoid burnout, anxiety, and depression, this article can help.
As a student, working on your mental health is essential amidst the rigors and demands of dealing with academics and maintaining a personal life. This is because your mental health can have far-reaching consequences on your overall productivity in life.
Your mental health is like an internal state that controls your entire well-being as a person. So, if you want to level up your game as a student and improve your mental health, the 5 Bes can help.
1. Be Organized
As a student, organizing your academic life and other aspects of your life is something that you should really consider, because it will make you feel more comfortable, prepared, and happy. The fact is, academia is only a part of your life - there are other parts of your life that make it whole. So, being organized is a good way to keep the different aspects of your life in sync.
A great way to be organized is to write down specific goals and develop a plan for achieving them.
Why should you develop and write down specific goals?
Whenever you sit down with a pen and paper to set goals, your mind becomes focused. Your thoughts will begin to align and you will achieve a form of clarity. With this clarity of thought, you will be able to think about what you want to achieve, which you can then document as goals. Once a goal is set and a realistic plan is developed, you will begin to feel a deep excitement that can propel you to take corresponding actions towards achieving your goals.
Once you begin to make progress with your goals and plans, the excitement derived from knowing that you have things under control and that you are making progress can benefit your mental health. Eventually, you will be surprised at how your productivity levels have improved despite all of the demands in your life.
You can also use productivity apps such as workflowy, notes, or Google calendar to help you stay organized on a daily basis.
2. Be Restful
Simply put, make time to care for your body.
While this may sound obvious, some students actually overlook the simple principle of taking time to rest. They often go through their days attending lectures and visiting friends, and then spend their nights studying, working, or socializing with little or no time to properly rest their body. This is not healthy for the body or sustainable. We all need a healthy body to stay productive.
Try to maintain a regular pattern of sleep. A lack of proper sleep can leave you feeling tired and overwhelmed, and can lead to your body producing reduced amounts of dopamine and serotonin - which are chemicals that help to keep stress, anxiety, and depression at bay.
To keep your body healthy, also consider regular physical exercise and eating healthy too – you are what you eat.
And hey, be aware of “binge eating”. This can be a hint that anxiety, burnout, or depression is around the corner.
Keep in mind that physical health and mental health are tightly connected. The healthier your body, the healthier your mind – and vice versa. In the same vein: the more tired and unhealthy the body, the more mental challenges we are likely to face.
3. Be Accountable
By simple observation, I have discovered that people who are accountable for their actions and time seem happier and more productive than those who are not. The reason is simple: when you are accountable, you will always have something or someone to check on you and make sure that you are doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it. This can have a profound effect on making you a better person.
When we take accountability for ourselves and our time, we hold ourselves to an obligation to perform and effectively execute required tasks, no matter how inconvenient it might be.
More so, when you are accountable, there seems to be an urge to want to appear loyal and disciplined to yourself or your accountability partner- especially when that person is someone who you respect and do not want to disappoint.
Holding yourself accountable or having an accountability partner, guarantees that you have someone or a group of people to celebrate your big and small wins with. On the other hand, it also means that you have someone or a group of people who will encourage you when you fail or perform below your expectations. Either way, this will help you improve your productivity and make you feel good about yourself.
Your accountability partner can be yourself, a coursemate, a faculty member, your religious leader, or even an established professional - as long as they are reliable and can create time for you.
4. Be Empathic
The point here is simple: become a support system to others on their success journey.
We truly find our happiness when we help others find theirs.
We find our inspiration when we inspire others.
We truly find ourselves when we help others discover themselves.
We find our opportunities when we create opportunities for others.
We are social beings; hence, we must practice genuine concern for others.
As a student, if you have information or course material that would be of help to others, you can share such information and see your peers succeed without limiting your own success.
Every human being should truly be proud of themselves when they help others.
So, give help when you can, and do not be afraid to take help from others when you need it. It is not easy for everyone to ask for help, and you may see asking for help as a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is actually a sign of self-awareness and strength. It is not always easy to ask for what we need!
5. Be Self-aware
This is a vital component of improving your mental health and productivity. Self-awareness, or mindfulness, is simply the ability to focus your mind on yourself (your being) and how your actions, thoughts, and emotions influence you.
Are you aware of your thoughts, speech, and actions and how they influence you?
What do you like/dislike about yourself?
How does others’ opinion of you affect you?
Can you identify your strengths and weaknesses and how they affect you?
What makes you unique?
Do you know your purpose?
All of these questions are important and can help you become self-aware. Self-awareness can be developed when you begin to consider how your values, actions, goals, and purpose align with the environment that you currently find yourself in.
As a student, becoming self-aware can help you relate better with yourself and improve your relationship with others.
When you exercise your mind and work on being self-aware, you will realize that you are able to align your values with your actions more comfortably. This will ultimately increase your happiness level and improve your productivity.
Let’s draw a close here.
There you go!
It’s all in your productivity toolbox!
I hope that incorporating these tips will help make a difference in your journey to becoming more productive and balanced as a student and in life in general.
You can also sign up (for free!) to join our live guided wellness sessions: www.samavirameditation.com/signup
We’re looking forward to welcoming you into our community.
Until then, Be Well!
Lauren is the founder of the international wellness brand Samavira and a certified Meditation & Mindfulness instructor trained by Buddhist Monks in Thailand. As a meditation trainer Lauren believes integrating the concept of mindfulness in all aspects of life creates sustainable balance & success.