How to have a productive reading week
It’s that time of term again. Week six already. This means for those who are lucky enough, some have this week as a reading week. We are six weeks into the second term of the year, and this is where morale and energy levels start to dip and become low. For those who are lucky enough to have a reading week, they can use this week as a way to recharge whilst catching up on work.
It is in the name “reading” week; a week you fill with academic reading and a time to catch up on assignments or extra reading that you couldn’t quite fit in over the past five weeks. It can be incredibly easy to carry this week on at the same level of diligence without giving your body a rest which reading week also offers, a step away from a week of lectures and seminars. I am trying to use this week myself, to catch up on dissertation work I did not have time to do when balancing lectures, seminars and assignments last term but also giving myself time to rest and plan for the next two incredibly busy months ahead. Read on for some of my top tips for reading week.
Rest up. Take this time away from a heavy week of lectures and seminars to rest up and give your body the rest it needs. Also not forgetting we are in the middle of a pandemic so allowing yourself to rest is something that does not need to be questioned. Whether this is giving yourself two more hours of sleep each night or taking a nap in the afternoon when you are feeling burned out. Burnout was something I suffered with in first year which eventually led to me collapsing and going to hospital. It is something no on tells you about but can be incredibly serious when you start burning the candle at both ends but don’t realise. I recommend starting to have a night-time routine where you try and aim to get the same number of hours of sleep a night which I aim to be between 8-9 hours a night. I recommend if you have an iPhone to lock your apps to decrease your screen time before bed which entail means you slow down your mind before bed with a book or movie instead of being on Twitter or Snapchat for an hour before bed. By going through settings and screen time you can limit app time which I do for 10pm so I know the hour before I go to bed, I can wind down with a book and switch my brain off.
Plan ahead. Use this time to draw a plan up of your months ahead and a timetable of your assignment deadlines. I find methodical planning ahead helps me know when I need to start writing assignments, giving me adequate time to ask questions to the module leader and make sure I have enough time to balance four assignments due in the same month. Drawing up a plan also gives me weekly aims for the second part of this term to be able to tick off and keep on track of the essential tasks I need to achieve in the run up to my last assignments and dissertation deadline. For example, my aim for the end of week 8 is to finish my dissertation analysis so I can then go onto my planning of the discussion and working through my aims help me map out the road to not stressing last minute and therefore becoming anxious.
Be productive and complete your reading but also take time to look after yourself, rest up and use this time to plan ahead for a fruitful second half of term when you go back on Monday.