Having fun may improve your grades more than you think

As the busy weeks of semester are quickly approaching, it is important to knuckle down and stay focussed on your studies, but not at the expense of your hobbies and having fun. A balanced lifestyle is ideal and usually becomes essential for a healthy mind when exams are looming or when an assignment due date is fast approaching.

From my experience, while working hard towards achieving my academic goals is essential, it’s also important to remember that to lead an enjoyable life, we also need to give ourselves guilt-free permission to have fun. 

Top reasons to make time for fun 

  1. You’re less likely to burnout 
    Many of my classmates, myself included, put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed. This pressure often manifests in our bodies through high cortisol levels – otherwise known as the stress hormone. Similarly, when we’re stressed our brain signals and thoughts are more likely to bypass the prefrontal cortex (where rationality and emotional regulation happen) and head straight through the amygdala and other primitive brain areas known as the ‘reptilian brain’ (no offence, geckos). This combination of high cortisol and limited emotional regulation often result in us feeling overwhelmed, super emotional, and worn out. Been there! 

    One of the best ways to counteract this type of stress on the body is having fun – whether that be reading a book, exercising or spending time with your friends. When we relax and have fun our brain releases a hormone called dopamine which makes us feel happy. Having fun and feeling happy are two of the best ways to keep your body and mind balanced to avoid burnout. 
     
  2. You’ll improve your ability to focus
    Have you heard of the saying, “Don’t bring your work home with you”? If I’m honest with myself I find it hard to adhere to this one as I often have the tendency to bring the stresses of work and uni home with me. The first step in removing a bad habit from your life though is recognising it, so hey, progress. The bad habit started when I would often use my holidays, weekends, or any spare me time to catch up on my studies. This resulted in me never really taking a break which soon wore me down mentally.


    One day I made the decision to get away and go backpacking on my holidays – effectively forcing myself to have fun and relax away from home. After coming back home refreshed I realised how much more productive and efficient I was after a good break away. Not only did I complete the things I needed to do during the semester, but I was able to use my time more valuably and fit in the extra things that I never used to have time for. 
     
  3. You’ll keep your body healthier  
    Stress manifests in many ways, for instance when people become stressed they may develop high blood pressure, stress rashes, increased appetite, and so on. Physical and mental wellbeing go hand in hand, hence when you allow your mind to rest, you allow your body to refresh and protect itself from the stress hormones that can negatively impact upon your health. 

All in all, it’s important to keep an achievable workload, make time for regular breaks, have fun and most importantly look after yourself. Trust me, you will find your mind and body will thank you for it. 

 

Last updated:
7 April 2017