Address the Stress

Yesterday’s post was about winning the battle of contradictions by embracing the E + R = O mindset. Here are some additional tips to help you address the stress:

  • Re-work your study plan and get rid of busy work. Stop “actively reading” the bar company outlines as if they are novels. Outline books are encyclopedias and we don’t read them from cover to cover. We use them as reference tools when we don’t know something.
  • Stop micro-managing yourself. Yes, you need a daily schedule but some days are better than others. Set goals in terms of ranges instead of absolutes (40-60 hrs/week, not 10 hrs/day); track what you have accomplished instead of what you haven’t, and accept that you are human and no one (even the bar examiners) expects perfection.
  • Focus on practicing how to learn. You don’t know the material yet so stop trying to answer questions from memory. Use your notes and outlines to answer questions and learn in context. You will go off-note after the 4th of July when your brain has had time to process the material.
  • Know your limits. Every day you will reach a point where your brain doesn’t want to cooperate. Your brain is trying to tell you that it’s done for the day. Listen to it. Stop studying and find something else to do: head outside for a walk/run, clean the apartment, spend time with friends, play with your dog, go see a funny movie.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat right and exercise. You don’t have to give up caffeine or run 10 miles a day. Just drink a glass of water every now and then, have an apple or carrot, walk around the block during study breaks. You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you have.
  • Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Sleep makes an enormous difference in being able to manage stressful situations. It gives your body the defenses to fight disease. Getting sick will only add to your stress so get to bed before midnight and sleep 6-7 hours a night. Every night. Playing catch-up with sleep does not provide your body with the rest it needs.
  • Avoid external stressors. If someone stresses you out because of their attitude, competitiveness, panic, etc. then stay away from that person. You can use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and (nicely) say that you are having trouble studying/focusing and are going to find another place to study.
  • Believe in yourself.  Enough said.
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