by Caitlin Chenus
Student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Every student, no matter how intelligent, organized or motivated, will experience burnout at some point if they neglect themselves. Taking care of yourself is just as important as making sure to meet your academic deadlines and do well on exams. You cannot succeed if you aren’t well-fed, well-rested, and internally at peace. Here are three areas to focus on when you think about your self-care.
1. Physical Health
Take some time to make sure you’re getting enough food, sleep and water each day. This will help you keep from getting sick during flu season and fuel your brain to perform better in class. Staying hydrated and getting enough sleep keeps me from dozing off or zoning out in lecture, and it also improves my mood during long weeks.
2. Working Out
Regardless of whether or not you hit the gym six days a week or have never seen one in your life, light to moderate physical activity will also work to boost your mood and overall sense of wellbeing. As a new undergraduate and now a new law student, my workouts definitely declined in frequency and intensity. I was too busy, too stressed, or too tired to even think about the gym. However, knowing how much it helps me to go even for half an hour, I have been making more of an effort to get in a workout here and there. It helps immensely to relieve stress, boost my mood, and wake me up for the day. Whether you do an hour of yoga or thirty minutes of weight-lifting, try to exercise at least three days a week and I promise you’ll notice an improvement in your wellbeing.
3: Mental Health
This is my personal favorite. Your mental health is probably the largest factor affecting your motivation and ability to do well in class. Despite this, students most often neglect to take care of their mental wellbeing and end up burned out.
I highly recommend taking a few minutes here and there to check in with yourself and understand what is affecting your happiness. If there are issues or gaps you can identify, take steps towards solving them. Write out your goals for the semester. Being able to see it all on paper helps prioritize some goals and activities over others. This will allow you to reduce stress and perform better in school. It will also boost your mood and improve your physical health.
Self-care while in school is vital and yet often overlooked. It is just as important to meditate or workout as it is to do homework and study for an exam. Read a book, do a facemask, and get your laundry done this week – trust me, you’ll feel so much more on top of it.
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