Being a student can be stressful at the best of times. With serious decisions around every corner and mountains of work to complete before deadlines, this time of your life is one of the hardest to keep healthy, both inside and out. It’s not always easy, so here are some simple ways you can help yourself to stay healthy and happy during these years.
1. Stay Organised
This is something I learnt firsthand is tremendously underrated. Keeping organised and on top of your schedule can help you remain calm about your tasks. It’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand when deadlines get closer and time seems in short supply. Keep notes, calendars, to-do lists, diaries, alarms and reminders. While it seems obvious, it’s something we often forget about and being organised relieves so much of the stress we students experience.
This is sometimes misinterpreted to mean that you have to visit the gym 2-3 times a week before you can reap any rewards. That’s a misconception - as a student I wasn’t into sports, but I did enjoy sticking my headphones in and going for a run or aerobics class where I could release the week’s built-up stress. Exercising in a fun way keeps you active while providing an endorphin rush that makes you feel great mentally. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a gym membership, there are lots of online stores that sell cheap equipment!
3. Meal Plan
I always found that having beans on toast or tinned soup for dinner made me feel unhappy and unsatisfied, but cooking meals every night took up too much time. The saviour of my beans on toast diet was to meal plan and cook in bulk! Healthy and hearty meals like chilli, Shepherd’s pie and curry can be made very cheaply. Plan out 3-4 dishes that are easy to cook, buy all the ingredients in one go, then spend a few evenings cooking in bulk. You can then portion up the rest to keep in the freezer so that you always have a healthy meal on hand.
4. Don’t Sleep In
I know I know, it’s what being a student is about right? But while staying up until 6 in the morning and sleeping in until 12 sounds nice, it risks ruining your sleeping routine and ultimately impacting your mental performance. Sleeping through the day rarely provides the same quality of sleep as a nighttime snooze. Lack of sleep can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of worry and stress. Try setting yourself a semi-flexible bedtime Mondays-Fridays to give yourself a better routine.
5. Drink Water. Lots of Water.
Did you know the majority of us don’t drink enough water? Staying hydrated can help fight tiredness and fatigue. Drinking water help your body function more effectively and benefits your overall mood and feeling of well-being. The link between stress and dehydration has been heavily reported on and is forgotten all too easily. As with everything, start small, trying to increase your water intake little by little each day.