Eat, Sleep, Play - Finding Healthy Balance During Your Studies
Make Time For Yourself – Tips for Scheduling and Prioritising Your Workload
University life is full of easy-going friends and fun, however, it’s important to have a healthy balance between your studies and all the freedom of being a student. University is supposed to mimic a five-day 10 am-5 pm job. Using this schedule is helpful to create a structure to your day. A full seven-hour day may seem daunting at first, but it’s similar to the hours you were doing at school or college, the difference is that now it’s your responsibility to stick to a schedule.
A typical seven-hour university day includes two hours worth of breaks and any time spent in university and lectures. For example, you might have a lecture from 10 am-12 pm, then have an hour for lunch, before writing up notes and working on assignments. Give yourself a 30-minute break at 3 pm and carry on where you left off. Once 5 pm rolls around, you’ve finished your work and have the rest of the evening to yourself. Reward yourself with a good meal and a pat on the back.
Fueling Your Body – Healthy Eating Habits to Keep You Going
You’re away from home, with your own money and freedom of choice, what’s stopping you from ordering a takeaway every night? Sadly, this life isn’t sustainable, it’s expensive and unhealthy.
Shopping smart will be your best bet to ensure your money goes further. This means making a shopping list and sticking to it. Doing a group shop with your flatmates can also help spread the costs and is a great bonding experience. Buying frozen fruit and veg is a cheap alternative to fresh and a great way to avoid having to throw out any mouldy carrots and wasting your money. Bulking out your meals with veg or beans like chickpeas means your meals will last you longer and you’ll maybe find you have leftovers too. Or, if you’re super organised, batch-cook a meal so you have meals sorted for the rest of the week.
Alcohol is the weakness of many university students but simple habits like pacing yourself, eating beforehand and drinking water in between pints are all great ways to stay hydrated and decrease the chance of a hangover the next morning.
Limited on time and need a quick pick me up while you study? Veggie sticks, dark chocolate, nuts and berries are awesome study snacks that keep your body going and boost your concentration.
Get Plenty of Rest – How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep?
Adults need at least seven hours of sleep during 24 hours (and sleeping late on weekends doesn’t count toward this). One late night won’t ruin your sleep schedule, but continuously allowing your body to stay up past its resting time will seriously hinder you and your studies. Sleep deprivation can cause issues like irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle fatigue and brain fog.
This can be avoided by practising healthy sleep habits like limiting drinking alcohol late at night, maybe going out for some bottomless mimosas for brunch instead. Also, try turning your brain off after 6 pm. Avoid late-night studying as it will stimulate your brain too much, meaning that when it comes to laying down at night you’ll be too switched on to relax. Looking away from those blue screens (I know that seems like an impossible task), just half an hour before bed to let your eyes rest. Have a designated wind-down time, this could be 30 minutes of reading, showering, podcasts and so on. Not only will you fall asleep quicker with these habits, but that sleep will be more restful and rewarding.
Fun Breaks – Creative Ways to Take a Break From Studying
You shouldn’t work for more than an hour without taking a break. Your best bet is to work in 20-30 minute increments and then have a ten-minute break.
Ideas for these ten minutes include:
- Rolling your ankles and wrists to stimulate blood flow after sitting down hunched at your desk.
- Step away from your screen, give your eyes a rest.
- Declutter your desk, put away cups, rubbish and any work you’ve finished with.
- Meet up with friends who live nearby.
- People watch, especially if you’re in a library or cafe – what interesting conversations can you pick up on?
For longer breaks getting outside is your best bet, to really reset your mind and give you a change of atmosphere.
- Go for a walk, even better with friends.
- Change location, go from your accommodation to a cafe or library.
- Have a picnic for lunch.
- De-stress at a cat cafe (especially if you’re missing your furry friends from home).
- Or if the weather hasn’t held up, a good 20-minute TV episode will do (just make sure you turn it off after).
Exercise – Simple Exercises to Help Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity
Getting up and moving about is key to your time at university. Being stuck writing assignments at a desk can impact your mental and physical productivity.
Make sure to dedicate regular intervals for exercise, and find out if your student accommodation features a gym in the building. If not, a one-time payment for some weights can do the trick, or a skipping rope and hula hoop are fun ways to get your body moving. Yoga is a great way to work your body and brain, as well as being able to do it anywhere. Where you can try to replace indoor machines with outside freshness.
For those shorter ten-minute breaks try some deskercise:
- Slow stretches
- Leg raises
- Straightening your posture
- Scrunching your shoulders and try to reach them to your ears
Research which societies your university offers, these can be a great way to exercise while having fun and making new friends.
Self Care – Tips on Taking Care of Yourself Mentally and Physically During Your Studies
Treat Yourself! You’ve worked hard and the week has finished, allow yourself some time for self-care. Hang out with your friends and flatmates, dedicate a night to games and a drink, or maybe put on a good film for everyone to watch. Check-in on friends and family back home, ask how they are and share what you’ve been up to in the week. Make some time to be creative, write, draw, colour! For some, self-care comes in the form of organising, cleaning up and decluttering. For others, it’s personal hygiene, a nice face mask with a fun show in the background. Or maybe a game of football with friends, a walk through the park or going out to a bar. These all help your brain reset and rejuvenate you ahead of another busy week as a student.
Posted on June 19, 2023