Staying Active In A World Of Exams

Staying Active In A World of Exams

 

Ah, yes the time for the ultimate food coma has arrived once again: Thanksgiving. My mouth is already watering thinking of moist turkey and gravy, crispy brussel sprouts, creamy squash, and sweet pumpkin pie. Eating from the afternoon until the night, talking with family, and petting my uncle and aunt’s two cats is the perfect Thanksgiving for me. That is until the food coma and bloating of eating just a tad too much hits me. I’m not saying I am going to eat less this Thanksgiving because we both know that would be a lie, but memory of this feeling and acceptance of its return has prompted me to reflect on how to stay healthy and active in the college environment.

It can be difficult to find time for yourself to relax, nevermind go to the gym for a good workout or to treat yourself to a walk or run around campus. Living in a pressure-cooker environment for weeks on end can result in intense stress and tension that continues to build until you finally reach home for break and collapse onto your bed, dead to the world for the next 24 hours. We have all been there. But I would like to suggest an alternate narrative to this stereotypical college pattern. I am not saying that I hit the gym every day, go on a 5 mile run each morning, or mediate each and every night, but when I do take the time to do these things (with the exception of a 5 mile run, I could maybe complete a 1 mile jog), I find that my stress dissipates off of my body (along with buckets of sweat) and I am able to find a newfound sense of determination and joy in my work.

For this reason, I have decided to share a few tips and tricks on how to stay active and healthy in college which I have been employing this semester and which I have noticed have improved my health and college experience. I am not saying that these suggestions will completely revolutionize your workout regime or body, but I do think that it could be the start of your journey to find what methods work for you to stay healthy and happy.

Hit the Gym at Least Once a Week

Once a week, you gasp! Yes, I think that just hitting the gym once a week will make a difference. In an ideal world I would go to the gym three or four times a week, but hey we aren’t living in an ideal world. What I try to do is go to the gym on Friday and Saturday mornings for 45 minutes to an hour, but if I have a lot of homework that weekend I will just go to to the gym on Saturday morning. I used to be an afternoon workout person, but this year I have realized the beauty of working out in the morning. Just doing this once a week can refresh your senses and prepare yourself for the work ahead with a renewed perspective.

Be a Basic Yogi in the Morning

I used to take a yoga class with my best friend every Saturday morning in junior year of high school. Since then my funds have been depleted and I also live two hours away from the studio for the majority of the year so that would be a heck of a commute. As a compromise, I roll out my yoga mat usually four times a week on my rug and complete a yoga video via “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube. My room may be no yoga studio and I may do these videos in my pajamas, but I sweat, smile, and say “namaste” all the same.

Walk EVERYWHERE

Okay, maybe not everywhere, but try to walk as much as you can. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but it also good for your health; walking is more beneficial and impactful towards your health than you would think. As a college student, this is an easy thing to check off your to-do-list as unless you have a car on campus, you really have to rely on your two feet to get you from your 9 AM class to the library each day. Instead of sulking through the colder months, turn on a podcast or your favorite song and walk with confidence!

Drink that H2O

I really struggle with this task, so I am being kind of a hypocrite, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that to stay healthy you should try your best to drink water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle, cup, or mug with you filled with water so that you may take sips and gradually get in the habit of drinking a fair amount of water each day. I find that finishing my glass or water bottle of water makes me feel accomplished (even if I didn’t finish my essay draft, at least I finished this amount of water!). Adding ice, lemons, or cucumbers can spice (not literally) up your water and perhaps encourage you to drink it.

Eat Veggies (and all that good stuff)

I know that eating healthy at college can be hard, especially when the options are not encouraging, but be creative in the dining hall and try to make smart decisions about what you eat. Consult my previous article “Navigating the Dining Hall During an Era of a Health and Fitness Cult” to learn more about how to eat healthy in the college setting!

Sleepy-Bye-Time

What? Sleep? What’s that? Never heard of this mysterious practice, please tell me more! Yes, I am here to say that it is important to get enough sleep (whatever that means for you) each night, which similar to drinking enough water should not come as much of a surprise. Trust me, I know this can be an unrealistic goal especially during midterms and finals season, but really try to make it a priority to get at least 6 hours (hopefully more) of sleep each night so that you can feel refreshed and recharged to the best of your ability in the morning. Falling asleep has always been difficult for me, but I have found that following a nighttime routine of doing activities such as stretching, writing in a journal, using lavender essence, and reading helps me fall into REM sleep (sometimes I count this time as part of my sleeping time as a way to justify staying up late reading a book).