Self-Care & Studying
School is back in session, and that means juggling a million things at once. From busy class schedules to papers, on to exams and capstone projects, losing sight of ourselves can become very easy in the midst of everything. That is why now, more than ever, is the time to get into a better habit of practicing habits of self-care.
Everyone has a different outlet for feeling better. There are dozens of ways to clear the mind and free the body from stress. With no single right or wrong way, it’s really about what makes you feel best at that moment. Whether it is the gym, yoga, coloring, meditation, nature, even reading…
The act of self-care is truly unique to the individual and very important
I see school and studying as a job. Students, no matter their level of education, have a responsibility to fulfill and should take pride in the work. And just like a career, there needs to be a work-self balance. Stanford researchers did a study on over-studying and its effect on students. They found that students that completed “more than 3.1 hours of homework per night” experienced physical health problems, depression, sleep deprivation, academic stress and a lack of balance in their lives.
So, if you are finding yourself face first in the books and overwhelmed with educational pressures, take a moment to practice three of my favorite self-care habits.
Log Off ALL Social Media Accounts
If notifications and keeping up with your followers is more important than your studies, causing a seriously unnecessary diversion, then its time to log out — or even delete — apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media is a great way to feel connected to your friends-family-and the world around you, but the constant flood of information can be addicting, overwhelming and distracting. Do your grades and brain a favor by stepping away and getting focused on the task at hand.
Get Adequate Sleep
When it comes to studying, sleep is probably the biggest (and most important) health factor that becomes neglected. In fact, sleep is as essential to survival as food and water. Without sleep, we can’t form or maintain the pathways in the brain that let us learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.
By disrupting regular sleep patterns, you are creating greater barriers to the learning process – – so those all-nighter study sessions are actually doing you no good mentally or physically and chances are on exam day, you won’t recollect what you needed to in the first place.
I would also like to point out that studying creates stress, and stress increases cortisol levels. Similarly, lack or loss of sleep also increases cortisol levels. When cortisol goes unmanaged, major health complications can follow – – – fatigue, irritability, headaches, intestinal issues, anxiety/depression, weight gain, high blood pressure…the list goes on. The bottom line here is simple, get your sleep!
Set Aside Thirty Minutes For Yourself
I saved this one for last. Not because it is the most obvious, but because it is hands down the most important factor in self-care – – – you actually have to make time to take care of yourself. If you can’t set aside at least thirty minutes to do something for yourself, your priorities ARE NOT straight. Take a pen and block out, every single day, thirty minutes to do whatever the heck you want.
Be intentional with your time. You may enjoy an episode of Wheel Of Fortune every night, or find relief in taking a walk each morning, maybe you love doing your hair and makeup…whatever it is, schedule it into your day. Small-time to yourself will provide short and long-term benefits, ranging from:
- A more refreshed and re-energized self
- Improvements in self-esteem → you will begin to recognize that you are important and you deserve to make time for yourself, there will be more value in your self-care habits
- Better mental clarity and decision making
- Healthier sleep patterns with lessened feelings of fatigue
- Experience lessened episodes of depression and anxiety
- Improved immune system function
- Decreased tension and stress
It is obvious that self-care goes well beyond what we may perceive it to be. With so many benefits to our mental, physical, and emotional health, taking care of ourselves should be a priority that doesn’t fall to the wayside. It is my hope as you progress through the school year that you are able to apply one or all of these self-care habits during times of high stress and never-ending studies, to better manage and care for yourself. Remember to honor your body and mind by giving yourself the time that you deserve!
Aubree “Aubs” Shofner
JADA BLITZ FITNESS: AUBS IN THE BLOG
Fitness & Nutrition Professional