Fair use image: Chad Fennel
As the mercury rises and the days lengthen, students often find their focus on their schoolwork to decrease. Spring fever, the term giving to the feeling of restlessness over the beginning of spring, is often thought of as a detractor from one’s studiousness. However, the contrary may be true.
Numerous studies support the claim that spending time outside is beneficial to students. A study published in PNAS found that participants who went on a 90 minute walk outdoors were less likely experience anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness than participants who didn’t. And according to another, increased time in nature is correlated to increased cognitive function as well as increased mood. It seems that the natural urge to spend time outdoors associated with spring fever actually serves a larger purpose.
At the end of the school year and in the middle of finals, students may not feel like they have the time to go outside. The stress of exams causes many students to board themselves up in the library or coffee shops, only getting outside on the way to and from school. However, due to the mood-boosting and focus-increasing properties of time in nature, these habits may be hurting more than helping.
Studying for exams takes focus, and one shouldn’t simply cast aside all books and lay outside in the sun for hours. However, taking time during the day to throw a frisbee with friends, eating lunch outdoors, or even just going on a short walk to escape studying for a few minutes are all great remedies to exam-time stress that come with zero side effects.