Hey everyone! Happy January!
Many of us are heading back to classes soon after a nice, long holiday. I’m with you there! Hopefully you’re not dreading the return of school – personally, I’m pretty excited because I start a new job and I currently have no source of income. I’m pretty pumped to be making money again! Haha.
Anyways, many of us inevitably do feel the dread of having homework again and a large chunk of our days being taken up by school and work. Sometimes we let these things take up our entire lives when we become overwhelmed or have a long list of to-dos! But, it is SUPER important to not let that happen. You’ll become unhappy, unhealthy, and burnt out of your schoolwork. There is no winning here!!
Today I want to remind you of some things we NEED to remember to make time for in college. Sure, of course our academics are important – but that should never mean putting the rest of your life on the backburner. Here are some things that college students tend to neglect, and how you can fix that!
Eating out and eating quick, cheap snacks is the norm for college students. We don’t want to spend a lot of money, we don’t feel we have time to cook something healthy, and being away from home helps our cravings get the best of us. But eating right. is. SO. important. We also become a little lazy or too caught up in work to head to a gym or do anything active at all really. But our bodies need worked!! Without exercise, we’ll just become even more tired and lazy, and the cycle will continue forever.
How to do this:
Really be aware of everything your school’s food court has to offer. Trust me, I know that healthy options tend to be limited – but they exist! Find a way to enjoy the salad bar, get a sandwich loaded with veggies, don’t be tempted by the pop machine. Make the most with what you have here.
If you don’t eat at a food court, stick to a grocery list to avoid buying junk on a whim. Really invest in eating healthy. Sometimes this can be slightly more expensive, but invest in healthy foods whenever you can. Seriously. This is your only body. Treat it well.
As for exercise, I’m totally with you that this one is rough. This is where I have the most trouble, which is ridiculous because I live literally right across the street from my FREE college gym. But, if you’re like me and don’t love the idea of heading it to a gym, find a scenic running routine you can enjoy, or utilize the wonderful world of free internet videos. I highly recommend Blogilates and Yoga with Adriene. For me, this is where it’s at.
Also, don’t freak out about how much time you have available for exercise! I know that we are busy as college students. If you can squeeze in around 20 minutes 4-5 days a week, you’re golden.
We can become so engulfed in our independent lives that we forget to call our families, visit them, or realize that we couldn’t have possibly made it here without them. Don’t let this happen! My grandma used to get a bit frustrated with me because I would literally NEVER call – making me frustrated and annoyed for no reason, and the cycle continued. This year, I’ve made it a goal of mine to call my grandma at least once a week and I can feel her appreciation that I’m thinking of her consistently, and it makes me happy as well that I’m spending time with my family from afar and doing my best to show them that I care. Don’t ever deprioritize your loved ones!
How to do this:
Have an attitude of thankfulness. For most of us, our families have got our backs in our college endeavors and want us to succeed. Many of us couldn’t have possibly made it here without our families, myself included. Remember this and be abundantly thankful for it. This will remind you to spend time with your family or talk to them when you have some free time.
Sometimes, it might be necessary to make a note in your planner or on your calendar to remember to call a particular family member. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting because of a long list of papers to write and people to see. If you can even call and talk for 10 minutes, I’m sure your loved ones would be grateful!
If possible, try to spend a weekend home with them, as well. If you don’t have a car on campus (like me) this can get a little tricky, but at least express a desire to come home for a weekend and let them know you’re thinking of them. I don’t come home very often, but when I do, I try to give my family my utmost focus rather than my friends from back home.
What’s the point of attending school, getting good grades, and “succeeding” if not for ourselves? If you’re neglecting yourself for your own work, what is the end goal here? What’s the point?
Take care of yourself! Pamper yourself sometimes, allow yourself relaxation time, spend time on your hobbies that have nothing to do with school or other pressing things. Don’t forget to enjoy life! This will keep you mentally and physically energized, and prevent school from becoming such a dreadful experience.
How to do this:
Plan, plan, plan. Make it a daily goal to be done with everything before a certain hour, so that you can have those closing hours of the day to relax and enjoy yourself a bit. Whether this be three hours after 7 PM, or one hour after 10 PM – making this time is so important!
However, in order to make this time a reality, you must find out in what conditions you are most productive during the day and embrace this time. Give your work your utmost focus for a period of time so that later, you can focus on ANYTHING you like. Knowing that you have this time set aside at the end of the day, or the beginning of the day or whenever, will help you be productive because you know that eventually you will have time to unwind and reward yourself for your hard work.
Something I have never understood is WHY so many students feel the need to pull all-nighters just to get through a test or finish their homework. I even know a girl who slept about three hours total over the course of three days just to study for finals. WHY??? Sleep is not some optional thing for us humans. Every aspect of our health is dependent on sleep. Our minds will function better, our metabolism and digestion will improve, and we’ll feel happier overall. Skipping out on sleep, ESPECIALLY an entire night’s worth of sleep, is not productive at all.
How to fix this:
Plan in advance how you’re going to study and complete your work. Don’t allow schoolwork time to cut into your sleep time. If you absolutely must push some items back into the wee hours of the night, don’t allow more than an hour or two, and don’t let this to be a consistent activity. Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep almost every night of the week.
Avoid caffeine, blue light, and super stimulating material late at night, so to encourage your body to go into rest mode and sleep even better. This will help you work and think during the day, so that you won’t have to push your work into the time you should be sleeping in the first place.
I hope that these tips might help you balance your life in college more effectively so that you can be the healthiest and happiest you possible! Don’t let yourself forget how important ALL of these aspects of our lives are – NOT just our grades and jobs.
I hope you all have a great semester and are looking forward to what’s in store for 2017. Let me know what you do to stay balanced in college, and what you’re forward to this coming semester!
Talk to you all very soon!