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The Importance of Practicing Winter Wellness

This is a high-stress period for most college students. As a sophomore, I’m currently searching for summer internships while also trying to manage schoolwork, prepare for midterms, fit in fitness and still trying to stay adequately involved on campus by participating in a host of other extracurricular activities. On top of that, in the midst of the chaos I often forget to contact family and friends back home, or even pencil in coffee with friends on campus because I’m constantly worried about falling behind.

This is my call for all of us to breathe for a second and make a conscious effort to practice better winter wellness habits. Although perhaps a bit idealistic, I think instituting the habits for good can improve each of the key areas of our wellness.

 

Physical

I’m putting this area first (although none of these habits have to be implemented in a particular order) because it can greatly influence your levels of energy and thus trickle over into the other areas of wellness.

It’s winter, and being in Chicago means that the weather sucks. People get sick and the flu is this shadowy monster that always seems to be lurking behind us. It is so crucial to cover the essentials when taking care of your body such as fitting in a regular exercise regime. Not only is this good for developing a strong and healthy body that is better equipped to fight off sickness, it also releases endorphins that can greatly improve your mood.

In addition to this, I recommend stretching or meditating once a week. Becoming in tune with your body is a great way to release tension that bunches up our muscles when stressed out. Lastly, never underestimate the power of physical touch. As I said before, it’s cold and we could all use a cuddle buddy every now and then (whether it’s your warm laptop and an episode a New Girl is up to your discretion).

 

Mental

If you’re preparing for midterms while also applying for summer internships, study abroad programs, and the slew of other mentally exhausting obligations that seem to pop up all at once, it can do a world of good for your mental health to take the proper time to relax your brain.

Stress accumulates and snowballs out of control when we neglect our own sanity in the name of getting things done. When people are more relaxed and well-rested, they generally accomplish more. A recent study done by 18 scientists for The National Sleep Foundation, found that 18-29 year olds should be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Make a conscious effort to build up the appropriate amount of rest.

Getting proper sleep can help relieve an overworked and tired brain, clear your head and leave you in a much better, “hello sunshine!” mood the next morning. So catch the zzz’s when you can and it will have a world of difference on your wellbeing.

 

Emotional

Is it just me, or does winter somehow translate into woe-is-me-feel-bad-for-me-I’m-so-single syndrome? I get it. As I mentioned before, it’s tempting to just want to have someone to be with inside with whenever it’s snowing a billion inches. On top of this, Valentine’s Day hits us right smack in the middle of February.

Taking care of ourselves emotionally is so intertwined with our mental state of being, and focusing on what we truly need to be happy. Relationships (family, friends and significant others) are great and important, but it’s just as imperative to really stop and think about what you need at this point in your life to feel good about yourself, whether that’s with or without a significant other.

Some good emotional wellness habits that I’ve picked up are things like journaling, Tumblr-ing or blogging. These are all modes of self-expression that can be especially relieving when it seems like everything you’re feeling is bottled up inside you. I cannot stress how much better you’ll feel when you find the mode of realizing your emotional wants and needs.

Best of luck trudging through the rest of the winter collegiettes!! And remember it takes 21 days to form a brand spankin’ new habit.

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Haley Smith

Northwestern

Haley is currently a Journalism major at Northwestern University, Sociology minor. She is also pursuing a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has written for several campus publications and is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She has a few unhealthy habits that include obsessing over British boys with good hair, wanting to watch way too many eighties movies and lurking on various forms of social media.
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