How to study while struggling with mental-health
So, I’m new to this studyblr thing, but I haven’t seen something like this before. Studying can be hard while you go on and off with with your illness, and I believe the most important is bending your way of thinking. It’s hard word. But recovery is such a gratifying hard work.
You just can’t study sometimes, and that doesn’t mean you’re not being productive. Treat yourself, your body needs rest, food, exercise, relaxing. Everytime you do one of this, you can congratulate yourself. Congratulate yourself, even if it seems so small. In my bad days, texting my best friend is hard. And I let myself feel good when I do it. When I think that only if I’m studying I’m being productive, I tend to loose motivation, and get into the vicious circle of feeling bad brcause I don’t study and not studying cause I feel bad. So I find other ways to feel productive, and increase them until I can put small studies - and them increase them! This might take a few days, or weeks. But remember that you’re trying and that already is remarkable, so do congratulate yourself and do be proud that you got out of bad to brush your teeth.
You can try:
- Taking care of yourself
- Watching a TV show.
- Baking something! I love this one
- Stretching and walking. It can be just around your room, but it will wake your body up.
Cuddle and playing with a pet if you have one.
- Reading anything. It can be the dumbest fanfic ever, but it will help you concentrate, so nice one!
- Playing a game.
- Sketching drawings or random quotes. And this ain’t meant to look pretty, just to be fun.
- Making yourself some tea.
- Anything really!
“But others are so productive”. You know what is AWSOME? Living when your mind is fighting against you. You’re already formidable for anything you can accomplish because of this. Remember that you’re not to blame on how your brain works, and allow yourself bad days. And every time you do study, don’t ever think “finally, I lost so many times already” but be SUPER proud of you. I am. You’re doing great if you’re searching so much to find helpful tips already.
Planing is great, but breaking schedules is ok. This happens to everyone, I promise. You wouldn’t blame yourself if you got stuck in the rain, or had to help a friend, right? So why do if you can’t get out if bed? You can’t always control it. So what I do is planing, and instead of feeling bad about what I haven’t done, I feel good about what I have done. Sometimes, looking at lost dates is hard. So I close my agenda and just make a to-do list, crossing the items when I get to them, and never following orders. And remember to put small tasks in your list as well!
Have a routine before studying, and have a routine before studying when you’re not feeling good. This helps your brain associate that it needs to concentrate.
I have three routines, for example:
In my normal days, I just stretch, drink cold water and put some music I like and get straight to studying hard.
On my sad days, I take a cold shower, eat a snack and play some concentration games. Only then I get to studying, and I start with baby steps - I tend to watching videos or listening to poadcasts first. It takes a while, but anything you can do you need to feel proud about.
On my hipomaniac days, I go for walks or even runs. I need to tire my body a bit or I can’t focus. Then I take two glasses of water and a shower. Only THEN I study, and usually start with reading, to remind myself that while I have a lot of energy and feel good, it won’t do anything without discipline.
Find out what works for you. On bad days it will take a while, but if it gets you going, it is more than worth it.
Exercise. And again, it is okay when you can’t - and not a privilege of us neuroatypicals. But exercises are good ways to control your body chemistry. I have three exercise routines - again, for normal days in which I have energy, for days when I have less energy and for days in which I have WAY too much energy. You also don’t need to do this everyday, this is me, but have a schedule. And never fear to break schedules. Also, eat healthy.
Remember: mental illness is all about chemistry, which is frustrating, but also means you can hack it. And not just with medication.
Talk about your feelings, and not only when they’re bad. If you can afford a therapist, great. If you don’t, regularly talk to hotlines or trustworthy persons. Or just write about it. It really works to reduce your number of crises.
Power posing. Talking about hacking brain chemistry! I learnt this from a lecture called Our Body Language Shapes Who We Are, from psychologist Amy Cuddy - you can find it at TED. And it changed my life. Posing like Wonder Woman or all star spread for two minutes gets your cortisol (stress hormone) levels down, and your testosterone levels up! Sounds silly, but it does work. Also, it does look kinda silly so you can laugh and have fun while at it.
Have safety plans for every bad emotion you feel. I make lists I can look at when an emotion is overwhelming and pick something to do. Things like anxiety crises, sadness, anger, apathy and self destructive thoughts. This will help you reduce the times of this bad emotions and refrain it from growing into worse things, such as episodes.
Motivation. Motivation is important to anyone. I love lists - especially because I can hide them if they’re making me feel bad - so I have one for this as well. Things such as:
- I love learning
- Studying is a way of having control over my brain
- I want to be a teacher that makes a difference
I also love listening to Sia’s The Greatest, it’s kinda of my fighting song. If you have one, blast it and perform it ridiculously around your room until your dog is staring at you like you bring dishonor to the family - or is it just my life.
Find your motivation and keep it to your chest. ]
Try out different study methods in different states. Look at posts at studying tips - always remembering that some might not work for you, and that’s not (just) because of your illness, and that’s ok, that’s why they are so many - and use them to build your study routines. Routines are great because they bring safety and help you when you’re lost.
Sometimes you can’t control your sleep. It is important to try, however, don’t blame yourself if your brain just make it impossible some days. This is to the folks that are on the bipolar spectrum and like me can go 5 days straight with a maximum of 4 hours of daily sleep. If you know you can’t control it, don’t force it. It will make you feel anxious and you get MORE enrgy and impulsiveness. Tiring your body and brain helps.
There are days when it is three a.m. and I just can’t sleep but am not feeling bad. On those days, I work for a maximum of two hours. It is a nice moment for putting your reading in day. But never do this for many consecutive days, you’ll feel like a zombie later. However, it can help with getting something done. And it is especially calming for unrest.
Remember that bad days happen and you’re allowed to feel, to cry and rest. And that you’re never a burden when you need help or talk about your feelings. You are only human. Have routines, break routines. Do crazy wishes like decorating a Christmas tree in the middle of June. Pamper yourself. And just never give up.
Hope some of this helped.