As the semester starts to get crazy, you may find yourself focusing less and less on what is most important – taking care of YOU.
You are probably starting to feel like you don’t have the time to prepare yourself a healthy supper, go for a walk or get out for some air. Your body attempts to keep you awake, to retain class information and to function on whatever crap you can stuff into your mouth faster than you can say “double cheeseburger.”
We’ve all been there, but it’s time to get better! How can you expect your body to retain information when you are treating it so horribly? With these helpful tips you can start taking the time your body deserves despite the stress and chaos in your life.
#1 – Yes, I’m going there. Water.
You’ve heard the old adage, drink eight glasses a day. But water is so boring and plain and I’d rather have this cream and sugar filled coffee! I hear you! Water is pretty boring, but there are ways around this! Get yourself a nice water bottle and cut up some lemon, lime and orange slices for a little kick.
Not only is water the best way to keep you hydrated, but it will also help you to learn, keep your skin from drying out and give you energy! If you don’t like citrus, throw a few cucumber slices in there for a refreshing twist.
#2 – Eat fruit and vegetables.
Your brain works well when you are providing it with wholesome nutrients. Granola bars (sugar and fat), chips (fat and salt), cookies (fat, sugar and salt) are all really quick and easy to grab, but will not give you what your body needs to get that A+ on your next term paper.
I realize that you are in a hurry and don’t have time to wash, cut and package a bunch of fruits and vegetables, but there are ways to work around a tight schedule. Go buy yourself a fruit and veggie tray – I know they are pricey, but time is money and your body is worth it!
Before you head to the library, grab a spoon and scoop your fruit and veggies into containers. If you still want your granola bar, that’s fine, your body will thrive on these added nutrients and put them to good use.
If you’re like me and don’t enjoy most raw veggies, grab yourself a bag of frozen vegetables, stir fry them with some chicken, cook some rice and voila! A quick, healthy supper and you don’t have to spend time chopping for eternity.
#3 – Get some air and exercise!
If you sit and stare at the same biology slides for hours upon hours, chances are that you are not taking in as much as you could if you gave your brain a break.
You’re in your sweats anyways! Might as well put your sneakers on and sweat a little bit! Walking will increase your circulation, give your brain some oxygen and revitalize you. Besides, Oscar is dying to go out for a walk and you’ve totally neglected him by holing yourself up with your school books.
Once you return from exercising, you should see an improvement in your ability to focus and retain information.
#4 – Reward yourself for your study time
Creating rules during your study times is a great tool for keeping sane. You need something, besides your textbook, to look forward to in order to make it through the session. Maybe you want to watch an episode of a show, go for a drive, paint your nails etc. When you sit down with your books, set an alarm. Perhaps you want to do four hours of reading today. You should try to have at least one break in between those four hours.
Set your alarm for two hours and if you have successfully studied (without checking your Facebook feed, getting up for snacks or watching YouTube videos), then allow yourself the time to watch your show, or do whatever it is that will relax you for a while.
#5 – Sleep
I know you’re thinking “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” as I have come to this conclusion on the topic several times, but sleep really is important. It can make all the difference in the world to your mood, your energy and your ability to concentrate.
In reality, you should be getting at least eight hours of sleep every night, especially when preparing for midterms. If your body is not getting enough, you may find yourself having trouble focusing, feeling unhappy and irritable. If you truly feel that you don’t have time to sleep, think of how much more you will get out of your studying after you’ve had a few extra hours of shut-eye.
If you think you need a nap, 20 minutes is supposed to be enough to give you a quick reboot. So go take that 20 minutes if that’s all that you have time for.
You are worth spending extra time on yourself. You only have one life and while university exams are important, so is your health! In fact, stress is now known as the leading cause of illness. Taking the extra time to give your body the attention that it so deserves will keep you better off in the long run!