As a busy student, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands, as you juggle studying, clubs and activities, jobs, internships, and a social life. Figuring out how to keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically during this time might seem impossible. If you’re struggling to live a balanced life, try these three tips.
- Manage Your Time
This might seem like an “easier said than done” piece of advice, but it’s a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life, so you might as well master it now. Keep a schedule and stick with it, whether you prefer your phone’s calendar or an old-fashioned paper planner. Try downloading a time-tracking app to get a better handle on where your day is going, and how you can make it more efficient.
Learn to prioritize your workload and then reward yourself with free time -not the other way around. Not only will this help you actually complete what you need to, but not procrastinating will eliminate the stress of impending deadlines.
If you are still struggling with time management, take time to write down your goals and keep them in a visible place while you study. These can be both short-term to-do list items, or larger, more long-term ones. When you feel the urge to get distracted or put off your work, your goals can motivate you to get back on track.
- Manage your Health
When it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle, there are three main components to remember. Your physical and mental health are likely the first thing to go when you get stressed, but when you aren’t taking care of your body, your stress will only get worse. These three components are nutrition, exercise, and sleep. If you don’t have a handle on these, your stress will only get worse.
When you get stressed, you are more inclined to reach for pizza and ice cream, as your body naturally craves foods high in fats and sugar to ease your anxiety and provide you comfort. But these foods will only make you feel worse. Do your best to avoid foods that are processed and high in caffeine and sugar. If you really struggle with eating healthy meals (or eating actual meals at all) when your schedule gets busy, consider incorporating meal planning to your routine. Cooking a big batch of grains and protein and stocking up on vegetables makes it easy to throw together a grain bowl for dinner or lunch. Keep healthy snacks in your house, like nuts bars that are low in sugar, and carrots and hummus.
When you’re exhausted and stressed, going on a run might seem impossible. But exercise, especially aerobic and endurance exercises, reduce cortisol and adrenaline, and they also encourage the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers and painkillers. Try incorporating even a 15-minute jog to start your day or before you start studying.
Sleep is often the first thing to go when you’re rushing to meet a deadline. However, in addition to weakening your immune system and putting you at greater risk of getting sick, insufficient sleep also hinders your learning ability, impairs your mood, and increases your chances of academic failure.
- Manage Your “Me Time”
For a well-balanced life, you need to include time for yourself in the form of self-care. Make time to do something enjoyable like being around friends and family, reading a book, watching a movie, or going on a hike. Engaging in non-school-related activities gives your brain time to unwind and reboot so that you can go back to your work with improved concentration and productivity.