5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Health for Finals Week

Courtesy: BusinessInsider

It’s finals season once again, which means in the midst of cramming for tests and powering through papers and group projects, sometimes our mental and physical health can fall by the wayside. Though you may have less time than usual to cook up a good meal or get in a sweat sesh, it’s still important to prioritize your health. Incorporating these tips into your lifestyle will make you feel and look your best, I promise!

1. Cut back on sugar.

Most processed and packaged foods are laden with added sugar, which your body doesn’t need. Too much sugar can cause you to feel sluggish and your body to retain fat more easily. An easy way to cut down on your sugar consumption is limiting soda, juice, alcohol, sugary-cereals, and simple carbohydrates like white bread from your diet. Making simple swaps – like having a regular latte instead of flavored one – is easy, but makes a difference!  It’s still totally great to treat yourself (I’d go crazy without my chocolate fix) but being more aware of sugar consumption can have a huge impact on your health and energy levels.

2. Drink (infused) water.

Staying properly hydrated has many health benefits: it enhances athletic performance, makes your skin glow, boosts your body’s immune system, decreases hunger and reduces bloating. Sick of plain water? Throwing a lemon wedge or some berries into your water enhances the flavor (without sugar!) and will make you want to drink it much faster. Or, try drinking a warm glass of lemon water first thing in the morning to gently wake up your digestive system and kick-start your metabolism.

3.  Make sleep a priority.

I know there are weeks where this can be difficult, especially during midterms and finals, but it’s important to get around eight hours of sleep each night. Studies have found that individuals who do not get enough rest have reduced amounts of leptin, a chemical that makes you feel full. You’re more likely to feel hungry and crave unhealthy foods. Plus, a lack of sleep leaves you irritable and sluggish, making it that much harder to stay awake during class and get your work done.

4. Meditate daily.

Just five minutes of quiet time each day may have drastic effects on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that taking time to empty your mind boosts immunity, reduce stress, increase compassion and increase focus. Some Apps to check out are “The Mindfulness App,” “Headspace,” and “Calm,” which will guide you through a meditation practice.

5. Eat breakfast.

I know not everyone’s hungry in the morning, not to mention when you’re late for class and running out the door, eating might not be high on your priority list. However, studies have shown that eating a nutritious, high-protein breakfast makes you more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day because a) you’ve already made one good choice, why not make more? and b) you’ll feel less hungry throughout the day because you already have food in your system before heading to class. According to an article published by Rush University Medical Center, “When you eat breakfast you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.” Opt for a balance of fruit, healthy carbs and fats, like:

  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter and a banana
  • Eggs with berries
  • Oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts
  • Green smoothie