With the first day of November, we say goodbye to Halloween and hello to the Holiday Season! It’s the eve of Thanksgiving holidays, which means we’re in the midst of the mayhem that is midterms season. While pumpkin spice lattes, fall foliage, and sweater weather is running rampant, so does an unmistakable decrease in motivation. According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 85% of college students felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities they had to do in the past year. This time of the year, students hit the “metaphorical wall”, where exhaustion and stress take a tool on our bodies and our motivation. And even though we have less than three weeks to go before the long awaited Thanksgiving break, we need to be making sure our bodies are keeping up. Whether it be in your studies, workout schedule, relationships, or a combination of the three, the change in weather should not correlate to a change in your effort. Here’s the low-down on how to stay focused, stay fit, and overall stay healthy and happy!
Stay on Task
When the tasks pile up, it’s easy to feel run down and overwhelmed. It’s not unusual to suddenly feel lethargic at the thought of studying for yet another biology test or writing english paper, but putting off these responsibilities does nothing to alleviate your stress.
An easy way to tackle all the assignments is to make a list and prioritize. First, check off the most difficult tasks and go from there. By writing out a physical list, your workload will seem that much more manageable. Another trick is to study in blocks of time. Set a timer for 50 minutes to study and then designate 10 minutes to take a mental break.
Most importantly, move sleep higher onto your list of priorities. It’s unrealistic to expect 8 hours of sleep each night, however, you will notice a significant change if you structure your day to get an extra hour or two in. When you’re well rested, you’ll work more efficiently and your memory will improve. Cramming for exams and writing papers right before they are due will only stress you out more. Low motivation has been proven to coincide with a lack of sleep– plan ahead now to avoid the urge to nap later.
Eat Well and Exercise
Understandably, your busy schedule doesn’t allow for much down time, and your down time is never quite spent as ideally as you might prefer. For many, stress is a key culprit in an improper diet. To avoid wolfing down leftover Halloween candy in an attempt to distract from another take-home lab, limit snacking after dinner. This can be especially difficult if you’re prone to all-nighters, in which case have a few pieces of fruit or cheese and crackers to hold you over until your next meal. In the heat of the moment– the temptation to order an entire “consolation pizza” for yourself– drink a full glass of water and re-think your idea. Chew gum or even suck on low-cal hard candy if you need you put something in your mouth.
As for that daily workout, get it over with by working out first thing in the morning. Not only will you feel invigorated and accomplished,but when surprise tasks pop-up throughout the da,y you won’t feel guilty that you missed another date with an Ernie treadmill because you already got your scheduled workout in!
Just like you, your friends are also panicked about the next upcoming deadline. While you may not have time for happy hour anymore, don’t forget to check in on them from time to time. A simple text (during your study break, of course) will not only brighten your friend’s day but will provide you with a little boost, too. When it comes to maintenance, be certain to include yourself. Your health, both mental and physical, should always remain of utmost importance.
‘Tis the season to hit the books, but keep a steady pace so as to not burn out before the semester comes to a close. Find some middle ground between cramming for every class at once and binge-watching Stranger Things for days. Planning is key to get that degree. You are so close to that week long Thanksgiving break you can almost taste it! Keep pushing! Happy studies!
By: Helena Starrs