How can I stop spacing out, and focus on my study?
Lately but I have been finding it difficult to focus. I space out for a while and lose track of what I’m doing. Earlier this week, I fell asleep on my desk while reading! During the day I often feel trapped and restless. I feel like eating more and more. Please help me focus and start to work on my research report asap.
It’s great you asked this question as many people can feel this way. Often people find it hard to focus when they are worried about assessment. This can feel scary because you know the work needs to be done but feel like you just can’t do it. You describe feeling “trapped”, restless and having trouble concentrating. These are common symptoms of increased stress and anxiety. Even the act of eating more and more, despite feeling bloated, can be a distraction or a form of comfort from your fears.
I wonder if there are any other concerns in your life right now that might be contributing to the way you are feeling? Talking with a counsellor or trusted friend might help clarify other stressors and help you to start thinking about ways to address them. It would also be useful to consider your study and lifestyle routines – what else you are doing to take care of yourself? It may seem harder to look after yourself when you are stressed but there are many benefits in ensuring you have a reasonable sleep routine, eat nutritious, regular meals and snacks, and have time in your week for exercising and socialising. These activities help can replenish and energise you, so that you can approach your studies with greater focus.
There are lots of different ways to help yourself focus and relax, and to deal with stress. Some of these are by directly trying to calm yourself down, by slowing your breathing or doing a relaxation exercise. You may benefit from the practise of mindfulness awareness, which involves shifting your attention to the present moment. See the audio files on the counselling website.
To get your research report going right now, calculate how long you can concentrate effectively for in one go (maybe 45 to 50 minutes), and schedule breaks between. Go for a quick walk in fresh air, sit in the sunshine, or have a cup of tea before resuming your next study period. Some degree of stress around big assignments is normal. If it feels unmanageable please come and see one of the counsellors at Counselling and Psychological Services. Good luck.