Getting My Life Back on Track: March Edition

Do you ever realize how stressed and overwhelmed you are during a busy semester, but you can’t seem to find the time to make the changes to help you feel less stressed? That’s how I’m feeling this semester—waiting all week for the Friday and spending all week sad because I know the next week is about to start. From 6:00 AM to about 2:00 AM I am playing catch up as I struggle to balance past work with current classes. Normally, this is about the time I do “Spring Cleaning” by organizing and redecorating things in my house, but this spring I’m looking to make a real change. This year I am “Spring Cleaning my Life” for a better spring semester and a happier and healthier life even after the semester ends. Starting this March, here are a few goals I am making, to get back on track.

  1. 1. Fix Sleep Schedule

    white pillows and white bedding

    Problem: In December 2019, I wrote an article titled “I’ve Been Waking Up at 6:30 Every Morning and This is Why You Should Too,” and let’s just say things have changed a lot since then. I find myself staying up until after midnight trying to finish a Spanish paper or take a reading quiz about International Strategy. This may not be such a problem if it wasn’t a regular occurrence. After closing my laptop, I leave all of my books open on the table because I know I have to wake up early and continue where I left off. I do my nighttime routine and crawl into bed around 1:30 AM to set my first alarm for 5:30 AM. I have alarms go off every 15 minutes because I know I’m going to hit snooze. I know this is probably the worse thing to do as it interrupts my sleep and leaves me in a bad mood in the morning just to repeat the process again.

    Solution: Set a reasonable sleep schedule and stick to it. I already use the bedtime app on my phone to notify me when the right time is to power down and get my 8 hours of sleep before my desired wake-up time, but usually, I just ignore it because I am doing homework. Instead of treating it as a suggestion, I need to treat my bedtime like it is a deadline for an assignment, non-negotiable (for the most part). This may seem extreme, but to get on a schedule, it will take some discipline on my part. After a few nights where I regularly go to sleep at a specific time and wake up at the same time, my circadian rhythm should be reset and help improve my wellbeing.

  2. 2. Get Back to Working Out

    Problem: Before COVID caused me to move back home in March of 2020, I lived in East Campus, which meant my dorm was around a 5-minute walk from Ramsey Student Center, the gym on UGA’s campus. I only had classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I was free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those mornings, I would wake up around 6:30am, get dressed in the dark—didn’t want to wake up my roommate—fill up my water, and walk to the gym. I would work out for 45 mins and walk next door to eat breakfast at the dining hall and have my whole day free. Now, this is not as easy living at home, and I only go to campus once a week for a few hours. Being home with a stocked pantry + no exercise throughout the week = unhealthy lifestyle for me.

    Solution: Make the time to workout. My earliest class every day is around 9:15 am, so I have time to workout before class if I wake up early enough. This is a great start to the day, and I don’t have to worry about it later. With a proper sleep schedule in place, this is definitely possible. Since being home, I have used my treadmill at home but not on a regular schedule. I have no excuse because I have the equipment right at my disposal. 30-45 mins a few times a week will be just what I need to get some form of exercise.

  3. 3. Refresh My Wardrobe

    brown and tan clothes hanging on a rack

    Problem: This is not necessarily a problem that affects my health, but it will help me avoid stress and frustration every morning. I love shopping, but I try to spend as little as possible just because I know emergency expenses or school expenses can come at any time and need cash on hand to pay for it. For this reason, I have barely gone shopping in the past few years, and a lot of my clothes are from when I was in elementary or middle school because I was around the same size. Some pieces don’t fit as well as they could and aren’t really my style all these years later.

    Solution: Figure out what exactly I need to buy and how much I am willing to spend. As I get older, I want more sustainably sourced pieces and higher quality pieces. Compared to my closet now, I have a lot of clothes I used to have from Forever 21 because I thought since everything was so inexpensive, I could buy way more. Now, I’m always thinking just how well the quality is and how long I think items will last. I also want classic pieces that can be mixed and matched with each other and a few trendy pieces.

  4. 4. Continue Pursuing Things I Enjoy

    Problem: I started this year doing really well and made good use of my time. I thought about things I used to do before school got stressful, and I started my only free time watching Netflix. This past January, I started reading for fun again and playing the piano, which I haven’t done in many years. I enjoyed my time so much, but once the semester started, I picked up my books less and less and stopped sitting at the piano.

    Solution: Read in the morning and at night. Normally I get in bed, get on TikTok (you can follow our TikTok page here!) and I continue to scroll and scroll even though my alarm will be ringing in a few hours. By taking the ~10 mins before I go to sleep and after I wake up to read a book, I can prevent staying up super late or spending too much time in the morning on social media. I try and sit down and play piano for at least 30 mins at a time to work on perfecting a page of music. I know I can find 30 mins somewhere in the day a few times a week. It just takes some planning and dedication. I already compiled a list of books I want to read, which you can check out here.

  5. 5. Take Time for Me

    This is just a reminder that even when school is stressful or I feel overwhelmed, I need to take care of myself first, and the same goes for all of you. We can get so caught up in everything we have to do that we neglect what we need to do for ourselves. Physical and mental well-being is just as important as our school work. This month and all months, take some time for YOU.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, down, or sluggish and are wanting to make a change, take a moment and think about what areas are getting neglected. Sometimes the problems can be fixed with a little work upfront to get you on the right path.