It is vital to get the right balance between work and play - to learn how to relax, to have plenty of diversions, to ensure you've still 'got a life'. All schools will have a range of extra-curricular activities on offer. These include sports such as soccer, rugby and hockey, drama, music and debating, to name but a few. Participation in sporting activities is not only a means to personal fulfilment, but also increases awareness of others as you learn to adapt to social groupings, experiencing the give and take involved.
Take time out
The body and the mind need regular 'time-outs'. When you're tired, concentration is more difficult, you get distracted much easier, learning and memorisation is less effective. There comes a point in an evening study session when it is counter-productive to stay at the desk - nothing is going in and you are only tiring yourself further. Use breaks effectively, particularly after completing a task.
Take the opportunity of a 'mini-break' during the day, perhaps when you come home from school in the afternoon. Lie down for 15 minutes, use some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises, get some 'quiet time' for yourself. Switch off the walkman and mobile and relax those brain muscles.
Get plenty of sleep
The best guarantee of a relaxed frame of mind is to achieve a regular pattern of adequate sleep. On busy weekdays, with travel, classes and homework, it can be difficult to stick to the schedule but it is well worth trying. A regular eight hours is much more beneficial to the system than a build-up of lost sleep followed by spending half the weekend in bed!
Don’t be a couch potato
If your idea of vigorous exercise involves sending multiple text messages, then you may need to consider some additional activities. Regular exercise, even if it only involves a brisk daily walk or cycle for 20 minutes, helps to clear the head and work the body. On the occasions that your head feels like it's going to explode, you may need to do a bit more - like go for a long run, push some weights or take it out on a punch bag!
Make the most of your life
If you don't get out and about, doing the things you like to do, meeting the friends you like to hang out with, you will have a pretty miserable and unproductive year. Do as much as you can - play music, see films, attend training and play matches, got to the odd party and have some craic! Get the balance right and all parts of your life will progress. Build your friendships and chat things out with your pals - it's a great way to keep things in perspective.
Have a laugh!
Psychologists maintain that laughter is one of the best protectors against stress. Having a sense of humour means being able to laugh at yourself and see the funny side to events and circumstances. So have a laugh, don't take yourself too seriously and remember to look on the bright side of life. If you think school is cruel, just wait 'til you hit the real world!