Looking After Your Health While in School

Who else is excited that school’s back in session? Well, if you are, that’s probably because you’re not in school anymore. I graduated a few years ago, so I get to say “ha, ha suckers” to all my younger siblings who had to trod on back to school wearing frowns. To be fair, not everyone find school as tedious as I did, and some people, like my sister, actually love being back in school. Weird.

Anyway, so students have returned to the gruelling days of sitting on hard chairs, hunched over a desk as they scribble out whatever assignment they have to get done. So many things have to be given up, social outings, video games, TV. And during this time, it’s hard to get any physical exercise done when you practically have live at your desk in order to pass the school year. When you have 5 essays and 3 exams due by the end of the week, your health can sometimes become the last thing you focus on. But let’s face the truth, in this desperate attempt to punch out those 5 essays, is your mind really performing to the best of its ability and are you really using your time efficiently.

If you’re feeling panicked and like you’re running out of time, just take a moment to calm down and breathe and tell yourself that you can get through this, because you can! Just take things one step at a time and don’t forget to look after your own mental and physical well-being.

Mental Wellness

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Do you know what I find kung fu great for? Meditation! Every once in a while, I find that my mind has become cluttered with random thoughts that begin to clutter up all the space in my head. And now and then, I need to take a moment to myself to empty my mind. Sifu Dan keeps telling me that I think too much. As a matter of fact, he often tells me to stop thinking. When I do kung fu, I have to really focus on clearing my mind when I go through the movements. Having an empty mind helps my body to relax. Sifu Dan always knows when I’m thinking too much because my body becomes tense and my shoulders stiffen and hunch. I get a little rap on my shoulder every time this happens as a light punishment for overthinking – but I honestly can’t help it.

Even when you’re in the middle of an assignment, if you find that your brain has become lost and unfocused, just take a few minutes, go somewhere calming, and try to clear your mind so you can return to your assignment with a fresh train of thought. Meditating helps to relieve stress and tension and can be just what you need to help you focus.

Physical Wellness

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Are you eating right?

Ah… yes, instant ramen noodles, the everyday student’s quick meal on a budget. It’s perfect for when funds run low and can serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner! Especially in university, when living on campus and mom and dad refuse to bring you anymore homemade meals, this becomes what seems like an essential to life.

Whatever you do, don’t give in to this stereotypical, easy living routine. Trust me, it’s not good. There are days I’m sure I still suffer from the aftereffects of too many cup noodles. It will give you nothing but an unbalanced, unhealthy and lazy diet. And sure, they may taste great at first, but they sure get tiring after the hundredth cup in a row and the indigestion afterwards is so not worth it.

In case you weren’t aware, there are a number of other cheap and easy food options out there that also have an affordable budget. If you need inspiration, just google “cheap healthy college meals” and a huge list of links will pop up for you to pick from.

Are you getting enough exercise?

I wouldn’t exactly call the walk from one class to another sufficient exercise, so if that’s what you’ve been checking off as “exercise for the week”, then I’m afraid I have to tell you that I don’t think that’s quite good enough.

Whether you are going out for a good long run, or doing some sort of at-home workout within the confines of your dorm room, it’s important to get a good amount of exercise in. Exercise benefits you in a number of ways. For example, it helps you sleep better, and reduce stress. Exercising generates blood flow which helps stimulate brain activity. This means that exercising is great to improve memory retention and increase focus and concentration.

If you can, try to balance your exercise routine to target all muscle groups. One reason why I recommend kung fu is because it works out your whole body from your head to your feet and has forms that concentrate on different things from breathing and meditation, to muscle building and self-defence.

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