Sress is bound to us. Whether you are studying or working it's always going to be there. In fact, a little stress can be a good thing. As you probably know, there's good stress and bad stress and as you've probably already figured out the bad is the one that we are experiencing daily. Stress is the father of all diseases and that's why it's important to know how to deal with it.
I'm a doctor myself and while I was studying medicine I was required to do insane amounts of studying every day for countless exams. If I hadn't developed strategies to overcome it I probably would be looking 10 years older now. A lot of my colleagues while I was studying medicine in Europe started growing white hair during years 3 and 4 and trust me, they weren't even close to the best students.
There is something that I need to clariy beacause I see a lot of people that think like this: Being under continuous pressure and stress DOES NOT mean you are working or studying harder than everybody else, it DOES NOT define how successful you are. You can absolutely kill yourself and destroy your nerves but that doesn't mean that you will do better than "John", who is calm and not as stressed as you are. John might actually have some strategy to deal with stress and in this way leverage his effectivity and still be better than you. That's exactly what happened with me and my colleagues - I almost always did better than them without stressing too much. In short - The level of stress doesn't define success rate.
While it is absolutely true that we operate better under stress, excessive stress has a backward effect.
So, with that being said, let me show you my TOP 3 strategies to overcome stress specificaly during extensive study sessions.
Tip #1 Take Long and Short Breaks
Now some people might try to argue with me saying that they take very small breaks or none at all so that they can study for more hours or whatever. Well, guess what, the number of hours that you study isn't strictly correlated to material coverage and comprehension rate. Let me give you an example: In my first year, as every other enthusiasted student, I studied as hard as I could, it is altogether expected for studying medicine or dentistry. In the weekends I studied between 8 and 12 hours per day. Yes... I was constantly under stress and couldn't take it anymore.
Then I thought I needed another approach, instead of staying at home above the books all day I decided to take short breaks between sessions and 1 or 2 big ones to go outside. This absolutely changed everything. I took short 5 minute breaks in every 30 minutes of studying (The Pomodor Technique) I also went out for a walk or lunch for 1-2 hours to take some fresh air and see actual faces.
In no time I noticed I was happier, more easygoing and in fact, more successful in my medical university.
To wrap tip number 1, take breaks, study smarter not harder and longer. Your brain needs to rest too.
Tip #2 Eat Healthier
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine" said Hippocrates, the father of medicine. I eat a lot of greens to get essential vitamins as well as protein and good sugars. In interesting tip I have for you - in your breakfast, focus on eating protein mainly instead of carbs. Protein is considered brain food in the morning and you can wake yourself up faster and easier. I also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
Nuts, especially walnuts for Iodide, as well as fish are also considered brain food for the omega 3-6-9 acids that they contain. Seriously, you can't expect to overcome stress by eating burgers and pizzas. Nutritional food is needed so that your organism can fight and prevent excessive stress.
Tip #3 Work Out
Seriously, you've probably already heard this and you might even say that you don't have time for it. Please, if you don't have time to care for yourself then you are doing something wrong. Your health is a number 1 priority!
Working out does miracles simply because it's a way to release negative energy and accumulated stress. At my gym, we've established a community so heading for a work out there has become a tradition for us. I really don't know what I would do If I didn't have this in my life. It's like an escape zone where I can throw away any negative emotion.
Those were my top 3 tips to deal with stress while under pressure during extensive studying session. I hope they work for you too!