March 10, 2012

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March Madness most commonly refers to NCAA basketball but let me suggest that March may indeed invoke “Madness” on many levels. The days get longer, Spring Break ensues, college acceptance letters pour in, flip flops and swimsuits re-appear, and summer plans commence – all of this with 6-8 weeks of schoolwork left to be done. In most classes, over 50% of your grade is still up for grabs. How do you focus through your serious case of Spring Fever?

In her Los Angeles Times article “Why the spring makes us feverish,” Elena Conis explains that levels of serotonin, the mood-elevating neurotransmitter, rise in the spring and may be at the root of the giddiness, energy boost, and enthusiasm that characterize spring fever. While a serotonin boost is generally positive, it can have the unintended consequence of making it harder to sit down and get your work done. Below are strategies designed to help you honor the spring while continuing to focus on these important remaining week:

▪   Begin each day with a plan: set the day’s calendar and the time allotted to each class, activity, or assignment.

▪   Prioritize your day and outside-of-class demands in order of importance.

▪   Motivate yourself with breaks, with specific start and end times, after specific tasks are completed.

▪   Savor your time walking between classes.

▪  Eat lunch outside, if possible.

▪   Enjoy 10-minute study breaks outside to take in the fresh air.

▪   Exercise daily to release your extra energy and calm your mind.

March generally indicates the beginning of the “fourth quarter” of the academic year. Do you need “ a come from behind victory” or “ to protect your lead”? Regardless, the game is not over – you still have April and a few weeks of May to battle through and go into summer knowing you played to the final buzzer but never went “mad!” Be well.

 

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