Looking after yourself while dealing with changes and challenges.
The wellbeing HSC – health, study and connection
Tips to help you through the other HSC.
Sleep is important for our bodies to recover and recharge. Aim for a minimum of 8 hours per night. Sleep helps us to concentrate, remember things and keeps us energised.
Some tips that can help:
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
- Avoid afternoon naps.
- Get some exercise every day.
- Try some Mindfulness exercises, for example, the Smiling Mind app.
Eating the right food can help your brain function better.
- Start the day with breakfast – Try eggs on whole grain toast, porridge, a smoothie or a toasted sandwich.
- Lean protein – beef, lamb, fish and also walnuts, almonds, hard boiled eggs. These help with concentration and helps you to feel fuller for longer.
- Low GI foods: give your body longer lasting energy. Try a grainy or sourdough bread. Try adding legumes such as lentils or beans to a beef casserole or salad. Choose lower GI grains such as basmati rice, bulgur or quinoa instead or pasta or jasmine rice.
- Healthy snacks – avoid the sugar rush: limit snacks of high sugar or salt content – such as chocolate, lollies and chips. Try keeping a plate of fresh cut fruit in the fridge and snack on nuts, seeds, wholegrain crackers and low-fat yoghurt
- Stay hydrated – drink water, try adding lemon, lime or mint to add some flavour.
- Create a realistic study plan including all aspects of your life eg: work, sport and social activities.
- Break tasks down into small goals. Reward yourself when you achieve these goals.
- Plan to study for 40-60 minutes and then have a break – do something physical, try a brain break, or go outside.
- Set up your study space with the equipment you need and free from distractions.
- If you find yourself distracted by social media use an app to limit your access. Try Cold Turkey for PCs or SelfControl for Macs.
- Ask for study suggestions and feedback from your teachers for each of your subjects.
- Set up a study group with your friends – talking about your assignments and study topics can help make them clearer and helps you to stay focussed and retain information.
- Have some time out with Friends – this could be in person or online - make some time for fun with your friends.
- Get support – Sometimes other life issues distract us from our goals and plans. Issues like anxiety, depression, problems at school or home, body image issues or binge drinking are all things that can stop you from staying focused.
- Look after your friends - Have you noticed a friend acting differently lately? Ask the question – Are you OK? Help them seek support.
Where to get support for yourself or your friends:
- Talk to your year advisor or school counsellor/school psychologist.
- Talk to a trusted adult.
- Access online or phone support service for some advice and solutions.
- Headspace has lots of useful tip sheets, as well as online support. Headspace's article on reducing stress and preparing for exams.
Other useful advice
If possible, set up a dedicated learning area
Having a learning space will help you prepare mentally for doing schoolwork. Stock it with all the things you will need for your classes. Be close to a powerpoint if you are using a device. If you can, make it quiet and keep it organised.
Use a calendar to keep track of work
Your teacher won't be there reminding you every time you see them at lunch. You may be getting lots of information through email, your digital classroom or even by mail. It can be easy to lose track of assignments and other tasks. If you already have a daily planner from school, great! Use that.
Schedule breaks through the day
It's important, for your focus, to give yourself regular breaks. You get plenty of short breaks at school (even though it might not feel like it). It's useful to plan them if your teacher hasn't already given you a suggested schedule for breaks. Check out general wellbeing for some tips for quick things to do to give your brain a break.
Helpful phone contacts, agencies, websites and apps that support mental health and wellbeing in these changing times can be found at Supporting mental health and wellbeing.