Oh snap! It’s been a week since I worked out. That fried rice and sweet and sour chicken smells sooo good, I want it! Five more minutes to snooze! (smacks snooze button once, twice, three times…)
Sound familiar? I hope not. Or do I? As a student, it gets tough when deadlines are chomping at us and keeping us up drinking cup after cup of our favourite coffee, or watching episode after episode on Netflix. I get it, we have responsibilities and then need our down time, but how does you feel the next day? Can you even remember what you were working on last night? Are you more or less attentive in class with those zombie eyes? It’s time to get our game on Badgers, let’s get it!
1. Get enough sleep!
We hear it and see it all the time: get between 6- 8 hours of sleep each night. If you really need to stay up, take a 20-minute power nap or 45-minute recovery nap early in the afternoon. I found this to boost my energy and alertness to the point where it doesn’t mess with my sleeping pattern at night. Your body and mind need to recuperate after a hard day’s work so try implementing a winding-down routine. Dim out the lights, put your phone on silent and away from you, curl up with a book, and turn on some soothing instrumentals. Once your body gets into the flow, you’ll be able to fall asleep easily. Also, try to set a bed time for the same time each night. This way, your body will recognize that it’s time to shut off your brain and relax. Check out the Songza App. It’s great for bedtime playlists! (Which you would also use for any other playlist throughout the day).
2. Stay hydrated!
Such a simple remedy to quenching your thirst. It’s said to have 8-10 glasses a day, so roughly 2-3L a day to keep you hydrated. Remember though, not all water consumed in a day will be JUST from water alone. Much of the food we consume includes water as well, especially fruits and vegetables. Spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupes, WATERmelon, and much more! Take it up a notch and add some fruit to your water bottle. Water bottles with built-in infusers are awesome! I personally like adding lemon to my water because not only does it add flavour, but it gives me an extra boost to my immune system and acts as a simple antioxidant to flush out toxins. It’s also good on your skin. (Ladies… and guys if you want to too: an extra “beauty-tip”: Get a small bowl, squeeze half a lemon for its juice, add brown sugar and mix. Tada! You’ve got a facial scrub. Leave in for 15-20 minutes or until it’s dry and then rinse off with warm water. It does wonders as it brightens your skin, tightens your pores and removes dead skin!)
Want to calculate how much water you really should be drinking? http://www.camelbak.com/hydrationcalculator
3. Exercise 3-5 times a week!
It’s nearly a month and a half since the New Year started, did you stick to your workout plan? Well, if you haven’t started yet, take this as your wake up call. Make a commitment to block out at least an hour 3 times a week to engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to get your blood circulating and muscles moving. We’re privileged to have a gym on campus, and it’s included in your tuition, so why not make use of it? Not sure of where to start? Check out this fitness blog and make a plan that works for you. Exercising and working out will boost your mood, help keep you more attentive, and contribute to having a better night’s sleep. Check out some resources below:
Interactive Brock Recreation Guide http://issuu.com/brock-recservices/docs/winter_guide_2015-2/1
Blogilates (personal favourite): http://www.blogilates.com/blog/2014/12/30/new-beginners-calendar-2-0-for-2015/
Livestrong Workouts and other resources: http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/dashboard/workouts/
4. Eat balanced meals.
What you put in is what comes out. If you’re consuming foods with high sodium, sugar and fat content, you’re most likely going to feel lethargic. You want to consume essential nutrients to get you fueled well for the day. For adults, according to the Canadian Food Guide, adult women and men need between 7-10 servings of fruits and/or vegetables, 6-8 servings of grains, and 2-4 milk and alternatives as well as meat and alternatives. The way meals are prepared is also something to take into account. For example, steamed or baked vegetables versus stir-fried, frozen meals versus freshly prepared, fast food versus home-cooked. Check out my previous post with the Spinach and Mushroom Dish video from Monday for a quick recipe.
Quick-And-Easy Student Recipes: http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/food/quick-easy-student-recipes
Health Canada Food and Nutrition Guide and tips: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php
5. Give your mind a break.
You’re not a robot, so take breaks! Our profs even tell us to take breaks when we’re reading and/or studying for a reason. After 60-75 minutes of being focussed on the task at hand, take a 15-minute break and do something else. Go ahead and take a walk through some book shelves at the library, do some squats or push ups to get your blood pumping (maybe more when you’re at home…), now would be the time to check your laundry, scroll through social media feeds. Once your mind’s a little clearer, get back to it! You’ll feel more refreshed and ready to continue from where you left off.
6. Social Life matters
Remember that saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”? With demanding schedules, it can get tough to spend quality time with friends. WHO’s definition of health is, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (1946). So with the tips mentioned above, social health is important too! Interacting with people has a positive benefit in one’s well being as it can boost your mood, learn to build trust in others and yourself, and work as a social support system to build resiliency.
Try connecting with friends and family beyond a text message or email, even if it’s a 20-minute call on the phone. Text your best friend and hit up a restaurant in downtown St. Kitts, call a movie night, go out on the weekend, at the end of the day… make memories! We’re only so young for so long.
Well Badgers, I hope you’ve gained some encouragement to make your life a little healthier today, than it was yesterday.