Whether you put in a couple hours a day or procrastinate and try to cram the day before an exam (I do not recommend), you know that college demands a lot of studying. Through my experience, mushy-brain syndrome (MBS) is a result of spending countless hours studying. You know you have become a victim of this when your eyes begin to cross, and you no longer are retaining any information. It sucks. I have discovered a few tricks that have helped me avoid and cure this condition, and I would like to share them with you.
#1: Get moving.
Every hour of studying, I do some pushups, sit-up, and squats. If I am feeling the effects of MBS, I hit the stairs a couple of times to get the blood pumping. My routine takes a maximum of 5-10 minutes and leaves me feeling energized and ready for another hour of studying. If you are in the library, go for a walk outside or find the stairs and run up a few times. Trust me, it works.
#2: Snack right.
It’s obviously clear that we need food to survive. Anxiety and stress from a test week always cause me to lose my appetite, but I force myself to eat nutritious snacks that will give me energy and help me think clearly. Carrots, nuts, and whole fruits are great to take to the library for quick energy. I love wrapping sliced avocado in Turkey with a smidge of mustard! Remember to be mindful of serving sizes, and the looks people give you when you’re crunching on carrots or apples in the lib. HA!
Stay. Hydrated. There is nothing worse than trying to avoid MBS when you’re dehydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you at ALL times, trust me your brain with thank you. Also, be careful and do not overdo it on the caffeine. I made this mistake last semester and let’s just say there were many all-nighters. Overdoing the caffeine can do the opposite of keeping you focused and getting essential sleep. SO, a word of advice would be to set a time in the afternoon when you cut yourself off of caffeine. If you need some pick-me-up-juice, opt for green tea sweetened with stevia.
My dorm room is where I prefer to study most of the time but if you like the library or coffee shop, this applies to you too. I always open my window during the day to let the natural light shine through, if not, my room turns into a dungeon that traps my soul. Natural light creates an energy that helps me study and keeps my thoughts clear. If you’re in a library, florescent lights kill. Get outside and get some rays. You will feel more awake and like a living being when you let yourself out to enjoy the natural light!
#5: Beauty Sleep.
All-nighters are NOT worth it. Let me repeat, they are NOT worth it. Your test results could severely suffer when you have been up for 48+ hours. Cut the caffeine, get a solid night sleep, wake up a few hours early and study, and then ace your test. I have found that sleep is extremely valuable. I mean, you could be up at 4 AM, cracked out on caffeine, and not retaining any information; or, you could sleep and be rested the next day without looking like a zombie? Yeah, not enough makeup covers up a night without sleep. Value sleep and don’t wait to cram.
Mushy-Brain Syndrome can be a real pain in the rear. Find what works for you and you will avoid it!