School is only a few weeks underway homework has probably already been assigned and maybe becoming a source of stress. Homework can impact the moods of students AND their family members. Last week's GirlTip shared some of the nuts and bolts about mindfulness. Developing a mindfulness practice can be useful for a number of things, including dealing with homework woes. Why does it help? Studies show that mindfulness increases focus, memory and attention (pretty crucial components to studying and homework!).
Here's some simple tips for dealing with the work load and also getting into the right frame of mind for more productive work.
- Create an "attention anchor" - An attention anchor is a tangible way to bring your mind back to the present when it wanders off. An example might be clapping your hands three times to bring alertness and energy to the present or having a squeezy ball by your homework materials to hold and look at. We suggest finding one of these blank ones (or one with a smiley face on it) so you can write a message (such as "breathe in focus") on the ball.
- Tune in to your needs - Before you embark on homework, take a few moments to think about if there is anything you need to begin your work. Maybe this is a short 5 minute walk outside, getting a drink of water to have by your desk or having a small snack to get some energy.
- Stop - Yes! Before you do anything, take in a few breaths and just relax. DON'T try to clear your mind (as this is nearly impossible to do!). Instead, let your thoughts come and go without judgement. Stopping (or pausing) is a great practice to start when trying to "switch gears" during homework. Before you move on to the next math problem, pause for a moment, re-anchor and breathe deeply. You will become a more efficient and accurate student this way - it is time well spent!
Good luck trying these strategies this week while you do your homework!