5 steps guide for keeping your mind and body healthy whilst studying

Daniela in yoga poseThere is a strong connection between mind and body. Keeping both of them happy is our main goal, however nobody is perfect and there will be times where we are not looking after one of them properly. You can easily notice that if your mind is worried or if you are stressing out about exams, workload or other things, this reflects on your body through broken sleep, lack of energy and bad choices in terms of food. Equally, if you are not eating nutritious meals, not drinking enough water or not exercising regularly, you won’t be in your best state of mind, fully optimistic and joyous.

I have started my yoga journey about two years ago and ever since my body and mind started to align. The flexibility that we gain through this practice can be transferred into real life scenarios where we become more flexible with other people, we adapt easier in different situations and ultimately, we become more resilient.

In the same time, going to university as a journey is very challenging and everyone wants to succeed at the end of it. In this article I would like to offer you a quick guide with tools that you can try in order to keep your mind and body healthy whilst studying.

Food full of nutrients and enough water

Planning your meals ahead, keeping hydrated and reducing the refined sugars from your diet can make a difference. When you incorporate veggies, fruits and nutritious foods, you will notice how your gut health gets much better and you have more energy throughout the day.

You are what you eat – couldn’t be more true. Once you cut out all the things that make your stomach and body feel lethargic afterwards, you will instantly notice how bad a fast meal full of sugars and fats will make you feel.

Don’t forget to always refer to your own balance. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy an ice cream or a McDonald’s from time to time. This is more about exploring what foods make you feel good and always come back to them once you think that you fell off the bandwagon.

Move your body

Running, pilates, yoga, going to the gym or playing any sports – anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate up is beneficial for your mind too. It doesn’t have to be a full session, as long as you squeeze 20 minutes of stretching and exercise, that will be fantastic!

Growing up I was the least athletic person in my year and I would always find excuses not to attend PT classes. It wasn’t because I couldn’t. At the time, I just didn’t see the point in running around and sweating. Fast forward a few years, if I don’t get any form of exercise for a full week, I feel that something is not right with both my body and mind.

Another important thing to consider is that if you are consistent with exercising, this helps with creating structure and routine in your life.

Take small breaks during studying

I believe it’s so easy to get caught up in studying, especially when we have multiple assignments to hand in, we have to prepare for exams and that group presentation. More often than not, we can feel burnt out and this happens when we are not having enough time to look after ourselves.

What worked for me is taking small breaks (5-10 mins) every hour of intense studying. Allowing your mind the necessary time to digest the information and giving yourself a quick break from the computer can be seen as an insignificant tool at the beginning. However, on the long-term, it will allow you to study for longer hours whilst being more focused.

Make sure that when you do have a break, don’t spend the time on your phone, rather step outside, chat with a friend, stretch your back or listen to some good music.

Keep connected with your colleagues and friends

As this year will involve a lot studying and working from home, it is absolutely essential to keep connected with your colleagues, friends and family. Constantly checking in with your close ones will definitely help you maintain healthy friendships and social life.

From my personal experience during lockdown, I found it hard to pick up the phone and ring my friends randomly. However, I realised that on the other side, it’s so lovely to receive a phone call from someone close just casually asking if you are ok. If you are finding it difficult to stay in touch with your friends while being home, just know that they will highly appreciate your call.

The importance of good sleep

Getting your 8 hours of sleep during uni is incredibly important. In this time, your brain recovers, the new information settles in and you are recharging your batteries.

If your goal is to wake up early, you need to go to bed earlier. This is what I particularly struggled with most of the time.

My advice for adjusting your sleeping schedule is to stop looking at a screen whether is your phone, laptop or TV at least 30 minutes before going to bed; doing a bit of yoga or light stretching; reading a few pages from your favourite book and rubbing a few drops of Jasmine and Ylang Ylang essential oils on your head temples, wrists and behind the years.

Let me know if you found this guide helpful and I would love to hear your own tips on how to keep your body and mind healthy during studying.

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Written by #HallamInsider Daniela Baicoianu