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As November rolls around, the semester is beginning to come to a close. This is a super busy time full of midterms, essays and club meetings. It can be hard to prioritize your own mental and physical health when you get overwhelmed with work and school. You don’t have to spend three hours in the gym though, in order to maintain an active lifestyle. So, here are ten habits you can start today that will help you stay sane, happy and healthy!

Read

You’re probably reading for your classes and might have a hard time staying on top of it all. But, reading for your own personal enjoyment can be such a great way to de-stress. You can read an autobiography by your favorite celebrity, a self-help book or a juicy young adult novel. Reading before bed can help your body wind down and might even allow you to fall asleep earlier. Taking those 30 minutes to read might really transform your whole day!

Meditate

Your head is likely spinning from the long to-do list you have to accomplish for the day. It’s not hard to overthink and send yourself into a spiral thinking about all the work you have to get done. Spending 15 or 20 minutes meditating can help re-center your mind and ease your worries. You can do this in the morning before you leave for class in order to start your day off with a clear mind, or you can finish your night with a meditation session to help you decompress. You can look up guided meditations on Youtube, the Calm app or the Headspace app.

tidy your living space

We’ve all had those busy weeks where we put off cleaning until there is a mountain of clothing on the floor of our closet. Prevent yourself from dealing with a huge mess by spending 10 minutes each night cleaning up your room, kitchen or any other areas that have gotten a bit messy throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning to a clean and organized space, you’ll be grateful you took the time to get organized and be ready to take on the day.

Get active

It’s no secret that exercising helps you to de-stress and keeps you healthy. We don’t all have the time, or the desire, to run a 5k every single day. But, you don’t need to spend a long time exercising in order to benefit from staying active. You can spend 30 minutes taking a nice walk around campus, head to the gym for a workout or follow along with a yoga video in your room. Your mind and body will thank you!

create a to-do list

If you aren’t keeping track of your assignments it will be impossible to stay on top of all the due dates. By writing out a to-do list of all the tasks you want to get done the following day, you will give yourself a game plan for success. You can even write out what fun or relaxing activity you are going to do that evening to encourage yourself to accomplish all the important homework and chores on your list!

clean out your inbox

If you’re a college student, there’s a good chance you’re getting a ton of emails every day. Some are extremely important, and others, not so much. It can be hard to stay on top of the high priority emails you are receiving if your inbox is constantly cluttered with junk mail. Take the time every day to delete unwanted emails and move the emails you actually do want to keep into organized folders so that they are easier to refer back to later. This only takes a few minutes, but you would be surprised how big of a difference it can make.

Journal

Anxiety is normal to have when you are busy and constantly on the go. When you don’t have time to process your feelings from the day it can cloud your judgement and decrease your productivity. Take ten minutes each day to journal and write out how you are feeling. Once you get it off your chest, you’ll be able to move forward with your day. If you don’t think you would be able to stick to this type of journaling, try buying a journal with prompts that tell you exactly what to write about, or look up a list of journaling prompts that you can choose from.

catch up with a friend

Have you ever had those days where you’re so busy that you haven’t interacted with a single human being? The lack of social interaction was probably nice for productivity, but not so great for your mental health. Get out of your room and go chat with your roommate and see how their day was. You can also call a family member or FaceTime a friend from home to see what they’ve been up to.

Drink more water

If you’re having any type of problem, drinking more water is probably one of the ways it can be solved. It can be easy to get wrapped up in classes and work and forget to stay hydrated, but its so important to watch your water intake and make sure you are getting enough. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up at the fountains between your classes and make it a priority to stay hydrated!

Get better sleep

Waking up tired is the worst. Your day is immediately off to a rough start and you already start daydreaming about the next time you can get back in to bed. If you start getting distracted during the day and procrastinating your work, remind yourself that you’re wasting time you could be using to sleep and stay well-rested. Try to set your phone down 30 minutes before bed and create a relaxing atmosphere that allows you to get ready for a good night’s sleep.

Hi, I'm Olivia! I'm a senior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Neuroscience, minors in Spanish, Africana Studies, and Chemistry, and a certificate in Global Health! In my free time you can find me at the gym, listening to a podcast, or hanging out with my friends!
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