Healthy Habits for Remote Finals Week

During Finals season, I find myself unintentionally prioritizing academics over my mental and physical health. Now that finals week is held during this pandemic, I have had no excuse to not keep up my healthy habits. Here are a few ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle during finals week at home.

  1. 1. Schedule Your Sleep

    girl sleeping in black and white

    When on campus, time seems to slip between my fingers as I spend it either with my nose in the books or with my friends elsewhere on campus. The combination of the two is hurting my sleep schedule as I lose track of time. Now that we’re home, half of the distractions are gone and I am able to delegate my time to sleep and work. In a way, it is essentially removing one corner from the dreadful triangle of priorities (sleep vs. studies vs. social life). Unless you want to schedule your naps, don’t put “Sleep” on your calendar. Simply set yourself a bedtime alarm and a wake-up alarm and make it fit how much sleep you want (or need)! Setting an alarm on my watch for 22:30 (10:30 pm) and my morning alarm at 8:00 am has helped me get the necessary amount of sleep I want and need to perform well on my final assignments.

  2. 2. Schedule Your Workouts

    two women working out

    Once I knew that St. Lawrence University would become SLU-oom University for the rest of the semester, I told myself that I had no excuse to not workout. My only activities during the stay-at-home period consisted of school work and binge-watching my favorite Netflix/Hulu shows. Even though one could use the virus as an excuse to not work out, there has also never been a better time to start working out, if you’re able to. As much as I am advocating for you to schedule your workouts, I am aware of how difficult it is to find the motivation to workout at all. 

    Over the past few months, if I have learned anything during remote learning, it is that I have to find my “why” for working out. Before college, I had a team practice schedule and coaches to hold me accountable to maintain a fitness schedule. Now that I don’t have a team practice schedule or a workout buddy, I have made a complete switch in my approach to working out by turning to YouTube and Instagram for workouts that are accommodated for this social distancing period.

    Here is a list of people on Instagram that I follow. Many of these people have a YouTube channel where they post follow-along workout videos that use as little or as much workout gear as you want. I love the following people/accounts because they not only share workouts, their content is full of advice for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in a realistic way.

    @LaniBFit (Allana Blumberg) (YouTube: Allana Blumberg)

    @WhitneyySimmons (Whitney Simmons) (YouTube: Whitney Simmons)

    @SarahsDay (Sarah “Sezzy” Stevenson) (YouTube: Sarah’s Day)

    @GainsByBrains (Sophie) (YouTube: GAINSBYBRAINS)

    @PeachBands (PeachBands Company)

    @MadFit.ig (Maddie Lymburner) (YouTube: MadFit)


  3. 3. Schedule Mindfulness Meditation Sessions

    summer girl hawaii yoga hiking exercise view high res version

    A few weeks ago, we shared an article about the importance of practicing mindfulness through meditation. I am a strong believer and supporter of this, though I may be biased as a Psychology major. I use the HeadSpace app and schedule a 10-15 minute session every night before I go to sleep. Meditation clears my mind before I get some shut-eye.

    However, you don’t necessarily need a long session to do the job. I often turn to my FitBit’s guided breathing app. While there isn’t a voice to guide my breathing, the watch head emits vibrations that match the appropriate meditation breathing pattern. It lasts only two minutes and I feel calmer with each time I use it. Oftentimes, I will use it in between assignments to reduce any stress I may be experiencing.

  4. 4. Schedule Your Down Time

    girl lounging relax 3

    A healthy lifestyle not only includes exercise and sufficient sleep, but it is also equally as important to schedule downtime. My favorite time to schedule downtime during remote learning is between dinner and bedtime. After dinner, I am ready to relax, just like I would be after dinner if I was still on campus. It has been more difficult to schedule downtime during finals, but scheduling this time for myself is an incentive to work smarter earlier in the day (hence why I schedule my sleep). Lately, since we’re home, my Dad and I have spent a ton of time working on jigsaw puzzles. Recently, we finished a 999 piece (the 1000th piece is missing!!!!) puzzle of the Girl with The Pearl Earring! It was quite the challenge, but we are puzzle fanatics and it’s definitely a great way to bond with my dad (my mom hates puzzles, understandably)! Setting this time aside after dinner and before bed allows me to reconnect with myself as well as my family (and my beloved four-legged friends).

  5. 5. Plan Your Meals

    Hotel breakfast room service

    I have always wanted to meal prep and now is the time to do it! Now more than ever, we have to think about how and where we get our food and beverages. Meal preparation is a great way to ensure you know what you’re eating and to have it in the refrigerator ready to eat when you’re hungry! It is very popular to meal prep on Sundays for the week ahead and this could definitely come in handy during finals week when you’re swamped with assignments and need something that is just as quick as it is healthy to get out of the fridge.

  6. 6. Drink Enough Water

    drinking from water bottle on beach

    We have all heard this a thousand times but drink at least 64 ounces (8 glasses 8 oz of water)! As “basic” as it may sound, my Hydroflask is the best because it keeps my water cold for a long time, especially when I put ice in it. I know people who don’t like cold water, and that’s okay too! This insulated water bottle will have your back! I have a 32 oz bottle and try to drink 2 of them a day. On the weekends when I am more relaxed, I push for a gallon (32 oz times 4 = 128 oz) despite the endless trips to the bathroom.

  7. 7. Use the Pomodoro Technique

    Although you can plan out when you sleep, eat, drink water, and exercise, it is equally as important to make sure you’re scheduling some studying time into your day (hello finals). The Pomodoro Technique is a scheduling technique, created by Francesco Cirillo to help you stay on task and increase your productivity. It is easy to get wrapped up in one specific task for hours (I am very guilty of doing this), especially if you’re struggling with the task at hand. Watch the video that I hyperlinked in the bullet point for more details about how it works!

By implementing a schedule into my day during remote learning and into finals week, I have been able to find some normalcy. What have you done during remote finals week to stay healthy? Have you been able to find a way to fit your own definition of normalcy at a time like this? Let us know if you try any of these tips or end up following any of the fitness accounts I’ve provided!


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