Having healthy balance between academics and well-being is crucial

Stress, anxiety, and burnout can adversely impact cognitive function. [iStockphoto]

The life of a student is a demanding journey, rife with mounting academic pressure and performance anxiety that can take a toll on their mental health.

As they strive for academic excellence, learners face the challenges of high expectations, fear of failure, and unhealthy comparisons with peers. This often leads them to experience stress, burnout, and a decline in their overall well-being.

The modern education system's strong emphasis on academic achievement has intensified the challenge of academic pressure. Consequently, maintaining a healthy balance between academics and well-being has become crucial for long-term success and fulfilment. By understanding the connection between academic success and stress, students can take practical steps to achieve this equilibrium.

While academic success can undoubtedly contribute to a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence, it is essential to recognise that excessive stress, anxiety, and burnout can adversely impact cognitive function and, consequently, academic achievement itself.

Effective time management is a powerful tool for students to balance their academics and mental health. Developing realistic schedules that allocate time for studying, attending classes, and engaging in self-care activities can alleviate the overwhelming feeling that often accompanies academic pressure. By prioritising tasks and setting achievable goals, students can better manage their workload and prevent burnout.

It is crucial for learners to set realistic expectations, recognise their limitations, and embrace the concept of progress over perfection. This shift in mindset can alleviate the stress associated with unattainable standards and foster a healthier approach to academic pursuits.

Additionally, students should cultivate a growth mindset, viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and development. By learning from setbacks and maintaining a positive outlook, they can develop resilience, a valuable trait that contributes to both academic and mental health success.

Maintaining social connections is equally important for students' well-being. By building a support network of friends and engaging in social activities, they can foster a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation, which can intensify academic stress.

Students should also be empowered to seek support when facing academic or mental health challenges. This support can come from friends, family, advisers, or professional resources provided by their educational institutions. Besides, it is essential to celebrate achievements, no matter how small, as this recognition can boost confidence and motivation, reinforcing the importance of progress over perfection.

Educational institutions play a vital role in fostering a supportive environment that promotes a healthy balance between academics and mental health. By fostering open communication, reducing stigma around mental health discussions, and providing access to resources that facilitate well-being, institutions can create a culture where academic achievement and well-being go hand in hand.

Institutions can incorporate practices into the curriculum such as stress management, mindfulness techniques, and healthy lifestyle choices. This proactive approach equips students with the skills to manage their wellness effectively.

Partnering with organisations and specialists can also enhance the support provided to students. Through training programmes aimed at building resilience and coping with stress, institutions can empower learners with practical tools for navigating academic pressures while prioritising their mental health.

-Mr Owino, Deputy Principal in charge of Pastoral and Discipline at Makini School – Cambridge Curriculum


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