As I sit here writing this post, while simultaneously writing a post for my blog about zombies (http://undeadculture.blogspot.com), and a separate article, all while worrying about getting enough practice/sleep/time to regain my sanity it’s finally hit me. With a month gone, school is in full swing and with the leaves dropping left and right one thing is on every student’s mind. Midterms.
During any period of examination our health, be it physical or mental, seems to take a back seat to studying (or cramming for some of us) and completing major projects. From my experience with high school equivalents, and now my first tastes of the real thing, I’ve begun to see the effects of midterms on almost everyone around me in one way or another. It doesn’t help that we’ve been crammed into classrooms ranging from 20 to over 100 students basically creating a breeding ground for germs (an exaggeration but, still a concern for some).
Everyone is stressed. Late nights run into early mornings. Classes drag on. Are you getting your 3 servings of vegetables a day? Probably not. Coffee, energy drinks, and junk food dominate your diet as you study and no matter how many ‘cups of joe’ you consume you still feel sluggish. Right? Right. So, here are a few tips to keep you both sane and healthy as you prepare for the next few weeks!
- Avoid Temptations: Many cafeterias will help you to make healthy decisions in terms of your diet however, they also have the ability to sway you in a completely different direction. My cafeteria has a deal where, as long as you are buying something else fountain drinks only cost $1. This is great on the wallet but, will not give you the good energy you will need when you hit the books. As well, if consumed on a regular basis, pop has the ability to make you anxious.
- Coffee Is Alright: When studying late at night, coffee or tea, in the long run, will be better for you than an energy drink. Just try not to live off the stuff. Your teeth will appreciate it if you keep it to a minimum. So will your breath.
- Breakfast Is Better: During these next few weeks you’ll want to be alert from the time you wake up to the time when you are finally able to crawl back into bed. Don’t start your morning with just a cup of coffee. Eating a proper breakfast will give you more energy in the long run and help you get through a long day of lectures and notes.
- The Power Nap: Sleep is hard to come by when the only thing on your mind is studying. Only problem is, no matter how much studying you actually do it won’t help unless you get a decent number of z’s (I hate that expression). Studies have shown that a 90 minute nap at some point in your day can help you consolidate memory, meaning less work for you in the long run. If you are having trouble getting this step in try and schedule it between or after classes.
- Beware the Power Nap: Following my praise of the ‘amazing’ power nap, I need to issue a warning. I know so many people that have laid down their head at 2 in the afternoon just to rest for a half hour or so only to wake up 4 or 5 hours later in a panic. To avoid this, set an alarm. I have 3. Don’t laugh.
- Walk It Out: Find time to take a short walk around campus in between studies. Getting that fresh, crisp, fall air circulating in your lungs will make you alert and more productive. The fall scenery is an added bonus but, apparently so is the goose poop.
- Eat Healthy: Common sense, I know, but it does make sense. Fruits and vegetables along with protein and grain filled meals will not only give you good energy they will also help you avoid getting sick. An apple a day keeps the doctor away and all that jazz. Try eating brain foods like fish or for long term memory try fresh blueberries.
Follow these tips and it should be smooth sailing (Smooth sailing is not guaranteed). No matter how much studying you plan on doing, be sure to take a break this weekend. Take advantage of the extra day. Fill yourself with turkey and surround yourself with family and friends. You’ve been at this for a month, you deserve this long weekend!
That last sentence was mostly to help me feel better when I end up not practicing my saxophone this weekend but, I’m sure you deserve it too!
Have a good long weekend and good luck with mid-terms!