Have you decided to take the plunge and go back to college to do a master’s degree in education? Congratulations! You will soon begin an exciting and rewarding new chapter in your life and career as an educator that will broaden your horizons and stimulate your mind.
You’ve almost certainly spent a lot of time thinking about how you can improve your study skills and be academically successful, whether it’s the best way to take notes or how to effectively review your exams. However, have you thought about how you will take care of your physical and mental health during your career? No? In this case, this article is here to help you: keep reading for some top tips!
Why well-being is important to students
Many people have in mind a glamorous picture of student life, which includes all-night study sessions in the library and a heavy reliance on caffeine to overcome their workload. In fact, this approach to doing a master’s degree is very problematic. Not only is it detrimental to your mental and physical health, but it is also likely to have a negative impact on your grades.
As a person interested in education, you probably already know that your well-being is closely tied to your cognitive functions and therefore if one suffers, so does the other. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of yourself throughout your degree program.
How to take care of yourself during your master’s degree in education
You’ll want to know that there are many relatively simple steps you can take that will keep you mentally and physically healthy throughout your career. Follow the following six tips and you should see an improvement in both your well-being and your grades!
1. Prioritize sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep gives you many more chances to feel alert and refreshed when you wake up in the morning, which in turn puts you in a better mood. Not only that, sleep deprivation has been linked to all sorts of problems that can harm your studies; some of them include impaired concentration, poor memory, and learning difficulties.
Throughout the course, you should try to sleep between seven and nine hours each night, and especially before an exam. This will be much more effective than staying awake all night piling up. If you have trouble sleeping, try these tactics:
- Wear an eye mask to block light
- Avoid time in front of the screen and caffeine at night
- Do not depend on alcohol for sleep, as this reduces the quality of sleep
- Following the same sleep schedule every day
- Write your worries in a diary before bed to get them out of your head
- Listening to a soothing sleep or music story as you drift
- If you find you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed bothering him. Instead, get up and go into a different room where you can read or do something more relaxing until you have sleep.
2. Get organized
Poor organization is one of the main reasons people get stressed during their graduate studies. When you study your master’s degree, you will probably have many lectures and seminars to attend, research to carry out, and tasks to complete. The best tactic is to start working on your reading lists and early rehearsals, to give yourself as much time as possible to complete them and avoid the need to spend a night.
If you are studying a master’s program in distance education, take advantage of this flexibility by developing a study schedule that really suits your needs. All of this will help you reduce your stress levels, avoid exhaustion and do your job to the best of your abilities. Plus, the skills you acquire along the way will almost certainly be useful in your future educational career!
3. Maintain a healthy diet
The brain is part of the body, so it makes sense for the foods you eat to have an impact on your mood and cognition. You want to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds as you move away from junk food, processed meats and sugary snacks. In the same way, change soft drinks and energy drinks for water: six to eight glasses a day will help keep you hydrated and keep your memory and ability to concentrate to the maximum.
4. Live an active lifestyle
Staying physically active is important for many reasons, including keeping your body healthy and your mind happy. Fortunately, as a student, you will have access to many fun activities on campus that will keep you in good shape. Whether you want to attend a dance class, try martial arts, join a sports team or go to the gym, you’re sure to find something you enjoy.
If you are studying an online course, take a look at what is available in your local area; there may even be a discount for students! Whenever possible, try to spend some time in nature as well, as exposure to sunlight is another key to good health.
5. Leave time for yourself
Doing a graduate degree can be global; however, it is important to take a step back from time to time and dedicate quality time to other interests. For example, this could be engaging in a creative hobby such as art or music, learning something new like a foreign language, or watching a movie with a friend. Maintaining some kind of boundary between your personal life and your academic life is especially critical for mature students with a family or a job.
6. Link with your cohort
Studying can sometimes seem like a solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be. College is a wonderful time to make friends with people who share your passion for education and build your professional network. Not only that, you will be able to motivate each other to follow the course when it is difficult, discuss ideas for your theses, help each other study and celebrate your achievements together.
All of this is true, regardless of whether your MA is online or on campus, because you can still make meaningful connections with people virtually. Don’t feel restricted to just the students in your course – your college is bound to have lots of fun social clubs that you can join as well.