By: Diana Curtis ’17, University Recreation & Wellness personal trainer and group fitness instructor
With the end of the semester quickly approaching, the stress inevitably begins to build. Projects, exams, and homework all accumulate in the final weeks and tend to drain all of the extra time out of your day.
Suddenly all of the social events that seemed so important no longer matter and “all-nighter” becomes the most commonly used word on campus. You hear everyone talking about the hours they spent at the library and the neglect they have taken towards themselves and their well-being.
In college, it may seem as though grades will make or break your life; as if your entire future depends on getting the perfect grade on every test and project you attempt. However, this is just simply not realistic.
When I came to college, I instantly realized that it was not an extension of high school. It was a completely different experience. The classes are more demanding, you are wholly in charge of your own time and the way you spend it, and there is a clear adjustment period that can have a huge impact on your confidence and health.
As we reach the most stressful time of the semester, it is important to remember that your health is a priority.
Just because you have a million demands on your schedule does not mean that your body adapts to unhealthy food, lack of sleep, and an absence of physical activity. It is still impacted in a negative way. You can become sick, even more stressed, and come out of it regretting how you treated yourself. To combat these negative side effects, here are some strategies that have helped me survive the madness:
- Sleep. Getting a restful night of sleep is more important than staying up the extra hours and functioning on sugar and caffeine. The amount of sugar and caffeine that students consume in order to keep themselves awake is usually way beyond the healthy daily recommendation.
- Move. Try and get in some physical activity even if you don’t feel like it. I know this one is extremely difficult for students, but it is one of the best ways to reduce stress and get your brain back on track for studying. If necessary, you can even take your notes with you and review while on a stationary bike.
- Eat healthy. You may just want something greasy to eat late at night, but these types of food will actually make you feel more sluggish and will not give you the energy needed to complete your work.
- Plan ahead. All of these recommendations take planning. Plan when you will exercise and when you will sleep. When choosing something to eat, start with the mindset that you will choose something fresh, not fried. Work out a schedule that gives you time to finish all of your work, but make sure it also gives you time to be human.
Don’t put your body through more stress and neglect than necessary. It is up to you to make choices that help keep yourself healthy and happy. If you realize you’re sacrificing everything in your life for one grade, take a step back and get back in tune with your body. You are more important than any grade you will ever receive.
And while your grades may be with you until you graduate, your body is with you for the rest of your life.