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 Award-winning business author and broadcaster

Leadership trainer and coach

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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Tang

Guest post: How cultivating study skills contributes to self-care (by Alicia Cecil)

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

How do you feel after pulling an all-nighter? Probably not the best. Those bad study skills that we all tend to develop (pulling all-nighters, drinking energy drinks, or procrastinating) aren’t helping towards our self-care. Good study habits, however, can not only benefit us where work and productivity are concerned, but with regard to personal wellness. With that in mind, here's a look at some study skills you can cultivate that will actually help you with self-care.

Outlining and Taking Notes You remember teachers and professors asking you to take notes during class, and perhaps rolling your eyes now and then. But they did it for a good reason! Simply put, using outlines and notes helps you organize information and order your thoughts. And while these are great skills to have in school classes, they also carry over into real life. Organizing your daily or weekly schedule, writing shopping lists, or just making daily journal entries helps you to empty your brain (yes, it’s a good thing). This in turn can make you feel less overwhelmed or frazzled. Having a clear mind will also make you more receptive to learning new things and seeing everyday problems from a fresh perspective.

Valuing Process over Result Having strong study skills teaches you to value the process of learning and building knowledge. This can help to combat the kind of reward-driven motivation a lot of us tend to follow. And this generally makes for a more satisfying day-to-day life! In short, valuing process in studying and learning will teach you to appreciate journeys rather than focusing on destinations. You'll be better able to recognise the little things that teach and shape you along the path of life, and this will make you a more thoughtful (and often more grateful) person.

Assessing Behaviours Metacognition is the process of intentionally thinking about your own thought process or learning. For example, you may avoid listening to music while you study because you can’t focus on what you’re reading when part of your brain is devoted to the music. This self-awareness many learn as a study habit helps greatly when we’re trying to assess our own behaviour in order to solve a problem or change a habit. The idea of assessing behaviour as a skill was described in an article on self-awareness in business as a way to “figure out what it is exactly that makes you great, and simply do more of it”. That may be easier said than done, but it's still an excellent idea to focus on. If you can recognise your own behaviours and tendencies, you can learn which of them help or hurt you –– and then thrive by focusing on repeating the positives and eliminating the negatives.

Improving Memory Memorising formulas and mnemonic devices (remember Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally?) isn’t just for getting through that one exam back in the day. These same skills carry over to the real world as well –– at work, at home, in every situation you could possibly be in! When you've trained yourself in how to memorise things, solve problems, and keep track of information, you'll likely be better organised, and that alone is a huge boost to self-care (and your general sanity!). As an added benefit, studies also show that developing both your short- and long-term memory exercises your brain in a way that can prevent debilitating conditions like Alzheimer's.

Learning from Mistakes As you may have discovered at some point while studying or going through school, mistakes are effective at teaching new skills; they say that embarrassment is a great teacher, after all! We tend to dislike repeating mistakes, or confronting the same negative outcomes repeatedly, and so we teach ourselves –– based on past mistakes –– to adjust habits and practice. Admitting to having made a mistake and taking accountability in thee first place also does wonders for your mind. It makes you feel less vulnerable to error. As you improve that skill and make fewer mistakes, it also helps boost confidence and self-worth, both of which have a powerful impact on wellness. We hope that these examples shed some light on how good study skills help with self-care. Keep practicing self-care so as to get out of this pandemic feeling your best, and put these skills to good use.

Written exclusively for

by Alicia Cecil

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