Sep 20, 2022
In this blog post, we shall go through 5 key ways to take care of your mental health during UPSC CSE preparation. Mental health care is an often-neglected but critical part of your preparation.
Aspirants usually have no time for good food, health, or recreational activities. These are considered unnecessary for their UPSC CSE preparation. With a limited number of attempts per candidate and lakhs of aspirants competing for a few seats, UPSC CSE preparation takes up all the time an aspirant can devote to this exam.
This is why subscribing to a tiffin service is preferable because cooking is considered a waste of time. Similarly, sleeping hours are reduced as well to make more time for studying. Actions like these affect mental health care negatively.
It is not just UPSC aspirants who are feeling the pressure. Mental health cases are rising across India, which is why the government has initiated a revolutionary mental health act called the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the country. If you want to study Mental Health in India for UPSC, you can start with the Mental Health Care Act 2017, India.
Mental health care is one of the most important things you must do to clear this exam. In this post, we shall go through activities you can perform to protect and nurture your mental health.
Preparing for civil services takes a physical, emotional, and psychological toll on every aspirant. Being disconnected from the outside world can even push you into depression or to engage in harmful activities.
As World Mental Health Day is coming next month on 10 October 2022, let us commit to building habits that help enrich our mental health. So, let’s dive in with tips to boost mental health during IAS preparation.
The tips mentioned below are nothing extraordinary These are simple habits you need to build into your daily routine to function at an optimum level. However, the pressure to complete the UPSC syllabus often pushes aspirants to neglect them, ultimately leading to low exam performance. These external pressures make it hard to develop these simple habits.
Always remember that a healthy mind can only reside in a healthy body.
Have you heard the phrase “you are what you eat?” You must have. The meaning behind this phrase is that you need to eat healthy food to live a healthy life. A healthy diet affects your mood as well. Eating food that provides essential nutrients and vitamins automatically makes you feel better about yourself.
Eating unhealthy junk like Maggi or fast food during important meal times such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner reduces your mental capabilities. Your ability to understand what you study, your memory power, and your creativity that helps you write impressive answers depend on what you eat.
When you eat junk, your mind becomes junk. And you are more likely to sink into a depressive state of mind.
To double the benefits of eating healthy, combine it with regular exercise, and you will see wonders!
Exercising is a great activity to include in your mental health care and can also be a way to take a break from studies. Working out sends a lot of endorphins, a feel-good hormone, to your brain, and as a result, you feel happier after a good workout.
There are many different ways in which you can exercise. If you are into sports and hate doing the same exercises for hours in the gym, then spend your time outdoors playing games like football, volleyball, cricket, badminton, table tennis, or regular tennis. In addition, walking or running in the park are other options you can choose from.
To give you a boost of motivation, here is a video you must watch. Watch as AIR 102, UPSC CSE 2020 Topper, Dr. Rajesh Mohan, describes his preparation journey and how he overcame obstacles in his 5 years of preparation.
If you have ever pulled an all-nighter before, you would know how difficult it is to remember even half the things you studied the next day. This is why all-nighters are less effective than studying regularly.
As far as you can, it is always best to avoid all-nighters because it puts enormous strain on your body. This is the reason we feel so tired the next day. Lack of good sleep negatively affects our mood and sets the tone for how we function the rest of the day.
As a UPSC aspirant, consistency is the key to your success. Wake up early and try to wake up at the same time every day. Our body works best when it is adjusted to a certain rhythm. Study early in the morning because that is when our brains are working at their full potential.
We understand that with the anxiety and pressure of completing the UPSC CSE syllabus, it is difficult to relax and sleep on time. However, there are certain measures you can take to make it easier to fall asleep.
> Make sure your mattress, pillow, and bedsheets are clean and comfortable.
> Exercise on a regular basis but not before going to bed.
> Take a shower or bath before bed to relax.
> Stop caffeine consumption late in the day.
> Increase exposure to sunlight or bright light during the day and reduce exposure to blue light in the evenings. This tells your body that it is time to wind down and get ready to sleep.
When you get a good night’s sleep, you automatically wake up in a better mood, refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Amidst completing the syllabus, pressure from family, and the low success rate of the exam, pressure is bound to build up. This is why de-stressing is important to your mental health care routine. Instead of relieving pressure through unhealthy habits, it is better to identify a healthy method that works for you.
You can use many methods to de-stress and relax your body and mind. Here are the top three methods you can use:
>Reduce physical tension - Whenever we are mentally stressed, we also tend to feel physically stressed. This is because the stress manifests physically in our bodies. Therefore, we can apply physical methods to fix mental tension.
Here’s how. Tense up one part of your body at a time. Release your muscles slowly and notice how relaxed that part feels. Do this for every part of your body before you go to sleep.
>Write everything down - This sounds silly but writing down your thoughts helps you relax. Write about how you are feeling, how your day is going, or how you feel about the future. Forget about being grammatically correct or writing well. Just focus on expressing yourself. You can use your phone to write or write on paper.
>Spend time in Nature - This is one of the easiest ways to feel relaxed. Take off your shoes, walk barefoot on the earth and just spend a few minutes amidst nature. You will automatically start feeling positive.
UPSC CSE is a marathon; to win a marathon, you need to be confident and persistent until you reach the finish line. You must take care of yourself and stay motivated throughout your UPSC preparation journey.
Our brains are wired to respond to rewards and achievements. When we celebrate an achievement, our brains release happy hormones that make us proud and confident. This makes us want to move on to the next achievement. It doesn’t matter how small the victory is. We can only move towards the big goals when we celebrate the small ones.
Cracking UPSC CSE is the big goal in front of you. Small goals can be as simple as waking up on time consistently for a week or finishing a topic within the stipulated time. Acknowledging small wins is the key to success. The problem with not celebrating small achievements is that it diminishes our motivation. As a result, we stop working towards our goals.
Big wins are not going to happen overnight, and that is alright. However, every small step toward that big goal is significant and worth celebrating.
And those are the 5 tips to protect your mental health during UPSC preparation. You must apply these in your mental health care routine to see positive results. It might take some time to see results, but that is part of the process. Nothing good is achieved overnight.
Whether you are writing your Mains 2022 papers or preparing for UPSC CSE 2023, PrepLadder wishes you all the best for your future. We hope that you give emphasis to your mental health as a part of your preparation strategy.
Keep following our posts to read interesting topics like mental health care and stay updated about the latest developments regarding the UPSC CSE exam. You can also join our Telegram channel for UPSC CSE exam preparation to stay ahead of the competition.
Own Your Dream
Arindam is a Content Marketer who looks after the Medical Super Specialty segment, specifically the NEET SS category, at PrepLadder. He aims to help aspirants crack exams and realize their dreams through his work.
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