Studying abroad is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming to balance your academics, social life, and the constant desire to explore. It is important to acknowledge that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be tiring, and it is okay if you are having trouble managing your time. Everyone’s semester will be different, and it is important to find tools that work for you so you can manage any stress or anxiety that may come throughout the semester. We have compiled tips on how to destress, as well the resources that DIS offers.
Build a focused study routine
Time management is key. Creating a quick and simple routine for your studies can help you stay focused, and get more work done. It is not always easy to eliminate distractions, but there are some things that are in your control. Clear your desk, get some snacks, and get rid of distractions (like your phone). Put your phone in airplane mode, move it out of your sight, or turn it off. Stay away from apps where you can easily mindlessly scroll for hours such as TikTok and Instagram, where a 15-minute study break can turn into hours of scrolling, which can make you feel more stressed than before.
A great hack for studying is the Pomodoro studying method where you study for 25 minutes straight with no distractions, and then take 5 minutes to refresh and stretch. This technique tends to help you achieve more, as 25 minutes is a manageable amount of time to stay focused. If you need help staying motivated, there are plenty of YouTube videos of people studying using the Pomodoro method that you can study along with. Sometimes it helps to have a video operate as an automatic timer, so you won’t be as inclined to check your phone to see how much time is left.
Remember to take care of yourself
During finals, taking care of yourself is definitely easier said than done, but it is important to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and remember to eat. Many college students pull all-nighters, studying through the night to prepare for an exam, but this type of habit can be damaging in the long run. It is impossible for your body to keep up with all-nighters, and depriving your body from sleep can lower cognitive function, academic performance, and mental health.
If you have trouble sleeping at night during exam periods, try avoiding excess caffeine and put technology away before bed. There are plenty of bedtime meditation techniques that can help you calm your mind and body. A great technique to try is the 4-7-8 breathing method, which helps put your body into a state of deep relaxation by mindful breathing.
Working for a long period of time without breaks can be hard on your body. It is more difficult to retain information if you study for hours at a time with no rest. A great way to slow down and stay level-headed during periods of high stress is to be kind to yourself and take breaks. Make sure you are spending time away from your study space, like going for short walks and getting fresh air. This will help you clear your head and calm your mind. It is also important to not isolate yourself completely, find a friend to go on a walk with, have a laugh, and let yourself enjoy the time away from your desk!
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help
It can sometimes be intimidating to admit you are having a hard time, but that is what DIS resources are here for! There is value in working through a problem on your own, but if you have spent a lot of time on an issue and you are confused about which steps to take next, it can be a relief to reach out for help. Take advantage of the resources your faculty has set up for when you have questions, or need to have a concept explained. You are also encouraged to reach out to Academic Support if you need help with time management or scheduling your week. It is best to reach out for help before you get overwhelmed, as you might gain tools that will help you during the rest of your time as a student both at DIS and back at home.
While studying abroad, it is important that you have support. If you are going through a tough time, or develop mental or physical health issues, especially during stressful periods, you have access to our Care Team staff who are trained to help you in times of difficulty and support you during your time at DIS. You can book an appointment with the Care Team using the DIS Navigate app. You can also reach out to the Care Team via email.
DIS has a special offer for all students to have access to a free subscription to the Calm app. The app holds a collection of audio and video resources for practicing mindfulness, meditation, and aiding sleep. There are guided meditations by professionals, as well as collaborations with a variety of celebrities who read audiobooks and other bedtime stories. Highlights include the ‘7 Days of Managing Stress’ toolkit and ‘Dream With Me,’ a bedtime story narrated by Harry Styles. The app can be used to help improve sleep, reduce stress, boost confidence, and enhance your focus. Browse the many themes on the app, and find what works for you.
Learn more about the resources offered at DIS