30 Apr How to Stay Digitally Healthy This Exam Season
As students go into their second summer of exams in lockdown, having been learning only for over a year it is no wonder that everyone from young children to students at university is feeling the rub. Exams are stressful at the best of times with an ever increasing number of children being referred to counselling simply for exam stress. Add on top of that the year we have had an it is no wonder students are struggling to stay digitally healthy in addition to everything else. Remote exams have been proven to be up to 1/3 more stressful and to impact students physical and mental health not to mention the problems of good internet and access which plague students around the country.
Work smart not hard
This first piece of advice might sound counter intuitive, but it is important to remember that working 10 hours a day revising is not efficient if you end the day exhausted, remembering little of what you learnt and dreading the next day. This can often happen if you allow yourself to be distracted throughout the day, can’t focus and aren’t doing the kinds of revision which help most. We aren’t experts on the latter but we can certainly help with the former! We recommend you try and limit distractions, instead managing your time into ‘deep work’ blocks which involves turning off all devices! You will be amazed at the difference no distractions can bring you (after all your IQ improves when your phone is switched off and in another room), and the extra time you have after completed tasks.
Take real breaks
Part of ‘working smart’ is knowing when and how to take breaks. The first important type of break to take is that from your screen if you are working online. For this we recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen to an object 20 feet away and focus on it for 20 seconds (you can even blink 20 times to help your eyes too!)
The other important part about breaks is that you should be taking them, and when you do they should be real breaks. Taking breaks is essential to keep your brain working at top capacity so make sure you schedule them in! When you do take time for breaks, a good way to stay digitally healthy is to make them analogue. Perhaps you could go for a walk or read a book, anything that is not on a screen so you can limit your screen use to essential activities (especially since remote learning means you are online so much!).
Lastly, another way to take staying digitally healthy even further is to revise offline. After a year of learning online it can be tempting to carry out revision in the same format, perhaps watching videos, going through notes and testing yourself all on screen but there are other ways! Handwriting your notes has been proven to increase your memory of that topic, and there are plenty of ways to set up physical quizzes and practice without a laptop. Get creative and you will benefit twofold, in your revision and in your digital health!