Coming home at the end of the day usually means that your time to unwind is about to begin and you can finally kick off your shoes and let your stresses just slip away. But when you’re back in school—and trying to balance your academic load with your work schedule and responsibilities at home—chances are, your day is far from done when you walk through your front door. So what about when you return from a long day and still have homework to do? Navigating those piles of laundry, cooking dinner and trying to catch up with family while watching the news can be distracting. So we’ve compiled a few tips to help you de-stress and actually increase your productivity at home:
- Turn off Entertainment Tonight and turn on some classical music. Research shows that music affects both the mind and body, improving everything from sleep quality to cognitive performance. Specifically Baroque classical music, which refers to composers such as Johann Bach, was shown to improve work life quality by increasing both efficiency and accuracy.
- Houseplants are not just for decoration. We know that fresh air and nature are proven des-stressors, so why not bring the same benefits indoors. Adding some greenery will not only liven a space, but also help to purify the air by absorbing harmful toxins and releasing oxygen into the room. Try a snake plant, they are low maintenance and do not require a lot of sunlight. Also known as “mother in-law’s tongue,” this quintessential house and office plant is known for its air-filtering quality, reducing the amount of formaldehyde in the air, prevalent in most household cleaners. The physical result? More breathable air and fewer headaches.
- Set the mood. Studies show that burning essential oils can help to lower stress levels and release tension. Both lavender and chamomile are popular oils, touted for their soothing abilities and even doubling as sleep aids. Not into the scent? Try putting a couple drops of the oil into your tea at night for the same benefits.
- Clear the area. First remove everything from your desk or workspace so you can visually see the space you have to work with—then clean it. After, organize all your materials and file them away. Do not keep loose papers on your desk. This physical de-cluttering mentally clears your mind and frees up the space needed for actual work to be done. Try a similar cleaning of your virtual desktop. Organize necessary files on your computer into folders and trash the rest. Limiting the number of icons on your screen will reduce visual clutter that can create a subconscious mental chaos and increase stress.
- Get back to basics. Try physically writing rather than typing. This seemingly archaic skill is proven to actively engage your brain in the writing process, improving concentration and helping you focus on what’s most important in the moment. Writing also cuts down on distractions while working. A computer houses a world of temptation— short breaks to surf the web in between sentences can easily disrupt thought flow. Added bonus? Handwriting can also help ward off the inevitable headaches caused from staring at a computer screen too long.
Now study up, so you can ace that test!