Studying with depression is one of the hardest things you can do. It’s difficult enough getting out of bed. Depression zaps your energy, you have zero motivation and concentration seems impossible. It’s like you have a cloudy memory. Basically, you are trying to survive each day. But how can you pass your courses with success while being depressed? The following are tips that you can use to survive university:
- Planner/Agenda: Depression comes with disorganization and foggy memory. In university you need to remember test dates, when you have a presentation or assignments to turn in. Take your planner with you to each class and write down everything you need to remember. This way you won’t forget anything or be rushing in the last minute.
- Study & Assignments: Always do your homework and study on time. I cannot stress this enough! Studying without motivation is hard. By doing a little each day your levels of stress will lower. There may be days that studying is impossible, but if you studied a bit each day, then you can have a day off in between. This tip is important because with depression having some time off where you can rest is essential.
- Space it out: Divide your study material into small chunks and review it continually over long periods of time. This will increase your chances of learning the material. Another tip is to review each lesson before starting anything new. This way your brain can retain material.
- No all-nighters: By staying up all night, your depression will worsen. Sleep deprivation will increase the severity of your symptoms. Not only that, but suicidal thoughts can increase drastically. Instead, organize your schedule that way you are not in a position of staying up all night for not completing assignments on time.
- Breaks: Do not study or do assignments for hours straight. This will affect your depressive state even more. Depression lowers your energy and if you do not take breaks in between study sessions, you will burn out. The trick here is to study for 30-minutes with 10-minute breaks. Everyone is different some can study a little longer or have less breaks. So, try different time schedules and see what works best for you.
- Binder / Notebook: People with depression can have difficulties staying organized. I know I am one of them. Buy binders or notebooks that let you add papers to it for each class. This will make your life easier because your study material won’t get mixed. Along with the binder buy dividers and organize your class material. For example, the first section can be for class notes, the second section chapter summaries and third PowerPoint presentations and so forth. This will allow you to feel less overwhelmed, the key here is organization.
- Negative people: Stay away from pessimistic classmates or friends. Its already hard enough to stay optimistic with depression. Surrounding yourself with negative people who only complain about the study material or how terrible the professor is, will not help you. This will bring you down, affecting your overall school performance. Remember you are studying to have a career that you love, so instead surround yourself with people who support you and will push you to your goals when life gets hard. People will either make you or break you. (Frenemy: are your friends really your friends?)
- Brain foods: People with depression crave junk food. Even though it’s okay to treat yourself every now and then, don’t eat it every day. Nutritious foods can increase your energy and improve your focus. So, stay away from sugars, this way your energy levels won’t crash and remember to stay hydrated. (Mood Boosting Foods)
- Study buddies: Figure out who are the responsible students in each of your courses and stick to them. Create study groups where you can clarify any doubts with them. This is helpful for that end of the class exam. Keep in mind that there are always irresponsible students who try to use you, but please stay away from them. Depression makes you feel pessimistic and if you have anyone using you in order to pass then your mood will become affected.
- Highlighting: Individuals with depression can easily feel overwhelmed, especially when it’s a course with lots of material. At times you can feel stuck, and not know where to even start studying. To make it easier, buy different color highlighters to divide the material. For example, yellow is the main topic, orange is the subtopic, and pink is for important information, etc.
- Self-care & Hobbies: Depression makes you feel worthless. Take time to pursue hobbies and self-care practices to improve your overall mood. If all you do is study and nothing more, then you will feel more depressed than you already are. So, treat yourself! Go to the movies or your favorite restaurant. Have fun with friends. Take a breather and then continue studying.
Society puts a lot of pressure on us, especially when it comes to studies. Remember your mental health come first and your grades don’t define you. Failing a course does not make you a failure. We are human, it’s okay to pass with the lowest grade. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a break to regain your mental health. I hope these tips can help you achieve your goal in getting that degree. Are there other tips you use? Are these helpful? Let me know in the comment section below.
Do you have high functioning depression? Feel free to read 6 tips to deal with high function depression.
Did you know Psych2Go has a book about Mental Illness Recovery?
Check it out here: Mental Illness Recovery Book, “Something I truly enjoyed about this book is the simplicity and the variety of stories which are all focusing in one subject; mental illness. It’s amazing to see how this book connects each story to one another and to the reader. It provides a direct insight of living with mental illness and tips on how to overcome some disorders. If you feel lost, or if you want to help a friend or family member then this is the book for you.” -Carelyn