One thing I have noticed about college students is the surprisingly common issue that most of them have a limited understanding of a good balance of studying, partying, and taking care of themselves. This can be attributed to a plethora of things — the amount of stress, homework, studying, and drinking (we all know it’s true). Taking care of ourselves simply gets put on the back burner because we see The Grade as the priority. Without having the proper context of this situation, one would almost definitely see it as insanity— prioritizing a letter over one’s own health. However, that is the nature of college: a place where 18-22 year-olds pay absurd amounts of money to study their asses off, largely sacrifice their mental and physical health, all in hopes of obtaining a job whose salary hopefully makes up for the amount of money they have lost to tuition.
As someone who has realized the toll that self-induced, school-related stress has had on her own body, I have been on the hunt for healthy outlets to expend some energy, burn some calories, and simply get my mind off of my work. Stress is, unfortunately, an intrinsic part of our daily collegiate routine, not by any fault of our own, but it is more so just a side effect of the grind.
Thus remains the problem of understanding how to grind but still thrive. Personally, I used to find my best stress relief through my cross country and track practices, but a string of stress fractures caused me to retire from competitive sports officially. This, I believe, a lot of Rhodes students can relate to because so many students come in after being athletes during their high school days. However, coming to college, they might not be used to not having a scheduled and organized time to work out and stay active, which is arguably essential to remaining at a high performance level in the academic sense.
Therefore, I have had to explore some other options in order to understand what works best for my body and my schedule. I tried to just continue running on my own, but my body still has sufficiently low vitamin D levels that just don’t mix well with high impact activity. This brought me to searching for a physical activity that made me feel tired, like running, without the impact on my bones. Thus, I explored the idea of yoga and pilates. Specifically, I explored hot pilates and hot yoga, which incorporates the same movements, but the temperature of the room is increased in order to produce more sweat and allow for a deeper stretch. I have a close friend who was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome approximately a year ago, which made almost every physical activity too painful for him to endure — a crippling diagnosis for a state champion pole vaulter. However, he recently told me that pilates was recommended to him as being one of the only activities that could actually help him without the pain that plagued him otherwise.
I had heard wonderful things about Bikram Yoga Memphis, especially because of its range of classes from normal and hot yoga classes, to hot pilates, hot pilates with weights, and even Vinyasa classes. I went to the hot pilates class as my first class, and I was not disappointed. I managed to work up a lovely sweat, which was weirdly therapeutic. I only use this description because there is nothing like a first workout back after being injured for a long period of time; the adrenaline that is produced elicits a newfound sense of rejuvenation that I simply had forgotten to appreciate. The rest of my day, I felt more confident going to my classes because I knew I had done something good for my body.
The studio has classes throughout the day, so it can fit a lot of different schedules because we all know that every student has their own brand of crazy when it comes to planning out their days.
This was my little bit of wisdom of the week for maintaining a healthy relationship with your body, especially when it’s already working in overdrive to meet paper deadlines, pull that occasional all-nighter, and stay engaged during labs. Hopefully, each of y’all can find your own little outlet during which you don’t have to think about school for at least an hour each day.