It’s tempting to encourage teens to study as much as possible during exam season, but doing so can be detrimental to their education and general wellbeing. Not only can their physical health suffer as a result of overworking, but it could also come to the detriment of their mental health. Here are three reasons why switching off can help teens during exam season.
Burnout is a form of work-related stress in which people feel physical and emotional exhaustion due to overworking. It leads people to feel a lack of connection to their work and a loss of their personal identity. It can affect students in relation to their schoolwork just as much as it can affect adults in relation to their careers.
When it affects teens, it can cause them to feel disinterested in the things that would usually bring them pleasure. It can also lead to sleep problems, poor appetite, irritability and isolation. Some of the best ways to prevent burnout in teens include making sure they take plenty of breaks from studying and have time to socialise and enjoy their hobbies.
Both long and short breaks from learning are important for committing information to memory, which is why teens need to rest up properly in between study sessions. Sleep supports the strengthening of neural connections that make up our memories, so it’s vital that teens don’t stay up studying until the early hours of the morning and instead schedule at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Short breaks are also important for memory and learning. Research found that the performance of new skills is improved by short, frequent breaks. A good approach to take is the Pomodoro method which is 25 minutes of study followed by a five-minute break, with a 10-minute break after every four 25-minute sessions.
Embarking on different activities can help to support creativity in your teen which might help them approach learning and studying from a new perspective. When studying for long periods of time, it’s easy for teens to get frustrated when they struggle to understand concepts or find solutions to problems. By switching off from studies to enjoy different activities, teens might find they return later with a fresh outlook that helps them solve problems or better understand key concepts.
Creative activities like playing an instrument, creative writing, painting, crafting or performing are particularly effective in helping teens explore new perspectives and ideas that could support their studies. Having a creative outlet could also help teens keep study-related stress at bay.
It’s common for teens to feel under pressure to work non-stop when facing exams, but it’s vital that they rest. Encourage them to switch off regularly for the sake of their wellbeing, and remind them that taking breaks will help them to perform at their best with each exam.