Any worthwhile MBA program is bound to cause some stress in the life of a student. Remember: if your MBA program didn’t challenge you at the highest level, it wouldn’t be worth it. That said, sometimes we make it hard on ourselves to de-stress in our GMAT study plan. Procrastination, lack of sleep, and taking on too much work are the most often-blamed culprits. If you find yourself “burning the candle at both ends,” try these techniques to bring a little relief!
- Don’t study where you sleep.
We’re all guilty of studying in bed, cross-legged, furiously typing away at a last-minute Quant practice section, but studies have shown that our bodies becomes conditioned with routines. If you consistently use your bed as your office-space, it will be harder for you to mentally “switch off” once you climb under the covers. If possible, do most of your computer-work at a desk or kitchen table, away from your bedroom (or at least a few feet away from your bed).
- Exercise, even in small bursts.
We all KNOW we should exercise, but it can be tough to find even 30-60 minutes a day to go for a jog or take a yoga class when you’re in a 3-month GMAT study zone. Even if you have no time to get a true workout in, make yourself take at least three five minute stretch and meditation breaks – one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one before bedtime. For each break, set your phone alarm for five minutes and quickly stretch out on the floor. Stretch out your spine and listen to yourself breathe. This allows your muscles (especially those around your head and shoulders) to relax into the floor, and remove any tension you may be subconsciously “holding” in your body.
- Fight insomnia with a total black-out.
Noise, light, and cold are three of the most common things that can prevent us from drifting off. If you have street lights or a neighbor’s lamp shining in through your bedroom window, consider covering them up with a large blanket before you hit the hay. Try to make your bedroom as pitch-black as possible. Buy some ear plugs, even if you don’t have noisy roommates. With them in, you’ll be able to listen to your heartbeat, which will lull you to sleep more quickly after a stressful day. Take the plugs to the library to get a more focused study-session in as well!
- Find some inspirational quotes.
It may sound silly, but putting up some inspirational quotes or mantras on your wall above your desk such as, “what you seek is seeking you,” or “thoroughness characterizes all great men” or even something as simple as, “I am going to ROCK my GMAT!” can create a less stressful study atmosphere.
Remember: You’ve come this far, and you know you’re going to get your MBA somewhere – all you’ve got to do is stay positive for just a few more months! Good luck!
Vivian Kerr is a regular contributor to the Veritas Prep blog, providing tips and tricks to help students better prepare for the GMAT and the SAT.