It’s no secret that adjusting back to college life after spending a whole summer away can present many challenges for returning students. While some of us would love to still be on vacation, we know this is the time to settle down and diligently focus on academics. Here are eight tips that will help students this semester live a balanced lifestyle with their newfound schedules.
1. Get a planner
You probably heard this one before—but that’s because planners are specifically constructed to help people live a more organized and orderly life. While it is tempting to use our phones to write and update our schedules, several studies show writing information down with ink helps us retain information more. Writing your obligations and plans related to school down every day will definitely help you feel that you’re in control of your life. If you find the process of writing by hand grueling, spice it up a little by buying a beautiful pen and some stickers. This will add a little zest to the overall progress!
2. Make time for yourself
It’s vital to remember that life can’t always be all work and no play. Setting time aside for yourself to engage in whatever you enjoy—something like watching a favorite television show or reading a good book— will boost morale, and provide a needed respite from all your responsibilities. Maybe get back into an old hobby, or find a new one that will challenge you!
3. Be engaged in your classes and professors
Whether it’s overviewing the class syllabus or asking your professors any questions you may have about the coursework, it’s always a good idea to adapt an active interest in your classes. Not only will this help you be more prepared, you won’t feel like you’re simply slugging through them and wishing you were lying on a beach towel somewhere. You can get an idea of the course objectives and future homework assignments so you won’t feel completely off guard. Talk to your professors after class. It’s a good idea to build a friendly repertoire with your professors if you can. It helps make class less intimidating, and they will definitely appreciate it.
4. Spend some time with friends
Being social with some of our favorite people can have us feeling happier and recognize how important the people in our lives are. While it can be difficult with all of your different schedules, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if a friend or two is free to hang out for however long. You might be surprised to realize sometimes plans really do fall in to place, and laughing with friends is something you will not regret during this busy (and sometimes even stressful) time. If they’re a college student as well, they can probably relate to your feelings about being back at school. This will make you feel less alone when you see that other people are in the exact same boat as you are. Your social life doesn’t have to go out the window.
5. Mindfulness practices
From yoga to meditating, mindfulness practices have proven to be extraordinarily helpful in decreasing stress and inspiring a sense of peace and comfort. There is no doubt that college can take a toll on our mental health. But we should never forget to take care of ourselves—we deserve it! Setting aside some time for mindfulness practices is especially helpful in either the morning or at night. If you do it in the morning, you’ll go about your day feeling calm within your body. If you do it at night, it can help you sleep peacefully and breathe away the normal worries of the day that follows you into the bedroom.
Once more, mindfulness practices help you reconnect not only with your mind and body, but keep in touch with the environment around you. If we feel more grounded, we feel more powerful and then we can utilize our control to try and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. And you don’t even have to take a yoga class! There are a large handful of YouTube tutorials for meditation and yoga, especially for beginners.
It would be an understatement to say exercise and fitness is a healthy lifestyle choice depending on how it is done. Exercising releases endorphins, which has us feeling lighter and happier – while also being aware that we are taking care of our bodies. If you have a gym membership (or have been meaning to get one), take advantage of it as much as you can. Even going to the gym a couple of times a week is a very good habit to have, and the chemicals released in your body will have you far less stressed then when you first walked in. If you don’t want to go to the gym, there is nothing wrong with talking a nice, brisk walk in your area while you listen to some awesome music – the person who goes at a slow pace is still going faster than the person sitting down. YouTube also has various exercise videos, for things like upper-body strength to cardio workouts.
7. Eat a healthy lunch
It’s no secret that eating healthy foods give us more energy that we can channel into being productive. When we feel ourselves losing motivation throughout the day, what we choose to digest and put in our systems can wake us back up in no time. Some recommendations would be fruits, vegetables, grilled chicken, salads, and eggs. Not only will you feel confident you’re eating healthy, you’ll have more energy as you continue to tackle the responsibilities of the day.
8. Go easy on yourself
Nobody is perfect. Sometimes we have to accept that our best is good enough. Don’t beat yourself up for simple mistakes, or for feeling tired, or for wishing you could be doing something else. We are all human, and can’t be flawless examples of a good student 24/7. If we forgive ourselves for our mistakes and try to learn from them, then that itself is good for our health in a way that goes beyond fitness or eating greens. You’re more than free to take a time out when life is too much.