How to Stay Healthy While Studying For The Bar Exam
It’s no secret that studying for the bar exam can be intense and stressful. Most people expect the process to be mentally exhausting, but many are surprised by how physically and emotionally draining the experience can be as well. That is why it is so important to prioritize your health during the studying process. Staying healthy during the bar exam will make you less likely to get sick. It will boost your immune system. It will make it easier to concentrate and focus. It will reduce stress. And overall, it will make it more likely that you pass the bar exam! Here are some simple, effective ways to stay healthy while studying for the bar exam.
How To Stay Healthy While Studying For The Bar Exam
1. Get enough sleep.
A good night’s sleep is vital to ensure you are at the top of your game while studying for the bar exam. Getting enough sleep will also make your body less susceptible to illness. So make going to bed at a decent hour a priority. Turn off all electronics in your bedroom, and avoid watching TV while in bed. Being well-rested will help you stay healthy, focused and retain information more effectively and efficiently.
2. Eat well.
Next to sleep, eating healthily is probably the best thing you can do to stay healthy while studying for the bar exam. What you eat can affect you both physically and mentally. Eating well can help you focus, have more energy and proper brain function, and generally feel good. Eating poorly, on the other hand, can leave you feeling physically sluggish and mentally foggy.
Make sure you regularly eat a healthy breakfast that includes protein to keep you fueled. Pack healthy snacks like fruit, nuts or yogurt. These foods will keep your energy up and help you avoid the temptation of hitting vending machines. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Also, try to limit your caffeine intake after 6 pm so you don’t disrupt your sleep (see #1!).
3. Get moving.
Exercise is good for your body and your mind. It is also a healthy and fun way to burn off steam after a long day of studying (and sitting). Aim to do something active every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. This can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk or going for a quick bike ride. Step away from your desk, go outside and get some fresh air.
Not sure where you’ll find the time? Make sure to pencil it into your daily schedule. Prioritizing physical activity can ease your anxiety, help you sleep better, and sharpen your mental clarity so you can re-focus on your studies.
4. Take breaks.
Studying for the bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone wants to cram in as much studying as possible, but you also don’t want to burn out. It is not possible to study 24/7 for two months, nor is it necessary to pass the bar exam.
Take short breaks to help reset your brain and stay healthy and focused. Plan to do something every day that allows you to relax and take your mind off the bar exam (I know, easier said than done!). Cook dinner, watch your favorite TV show, play with your pet, take a yoga class—just do something that helps you relax and reenergize. You will be glad you did!
5. Spend time with positive people.
This might seem a funny tip to stay healthy while studying for the bar exam, but it’s true! Make sure you have a solid support system of family and friends you can rely upon. Try to surround yourself with people who have an optimistic view about the bar exam. Being around positive people will help you curb your anxiety and stress and stay motivated throughout the studying process. For the same reason, avoid anxious or negative people. Their anxiety can be contagious and needlessly increase your stress level.
On a related note, don’t compare yourself to friends or classmates who are also studying for the bar exam. Constantly thinking about what other bar preppers are doing will only cause unnecessary stress. You know your learning style and what study habits have worked best for you through law school. Focus on things you can control and don’t waste your energy on things you cannot control.
For many, taking care of your physical health and wellness is the first thing to go on the back burner when you get busy or stressed. It is so important to recognize that these are critical elements to being successful day after day during bar exam preparation. Following these tips will help you prioritize your health and well-being as you prepare for the bar exam.
This post was written by Kate, who is a practicing attorney in southeast Michigan.
Looking for bar exam help?
In addition, we offer private tutoring for several state bar exams as well as the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Also, check out our highly regarded Uniform Bar Exam course if you are interested in a full-service approach to the uniform bar exam. We also offer many other options if you are taking the UBE (MEE one-sheets, an MEE seminar, an MEE course, among others!).
If you are looking for a new approach, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.
Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam. Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.