Last week I made the dreaded trip to the dentist (insert shriek here) and the first thing they asked me was, “Are you stressed?” Since I’m working and going back to school full time to earn my master’s degree, my obvious reply was, “Yes I am!”
Balancing work, school, family, friends, and pets can often times cause us more stress than we are used to, so I wanted to offer some words of advice on how to stay healthy while taking classes.
- Floss Those Teeth! My dentist knew I was stressed because apparently our gums act differently when we are stressed and we can be more susceptible to gingivitis. This made me a little nervous, but I was reassured that if I continued to brush and floss as recommended then I would be fine. We all know that good oral hygiene can decrease your risk of health problems such as heart disease, so make sure you are taking care of your mouth during this stressful time!
- Exercise! Exercise can be an excellent stress reliever. Not only will it keep you healthy, it can increase your confidence, motivation, and positivity. You might think of many great ideas or develop solutions to work or school problems while you are working out, so make sure you have that pen and paper handy!Find a work out buddy and set up a plan for what days and times you will to exercise together. You can join a gym, exercise outside by running or bicycling, or work out at home. Make sure you find something that works for your schedule and that you know you will stick to throughout the year. Even if you just commit to playing with your kids or walking the dog for 30 minutes, all activities add up and make a difference.
- Eat Well! In the middle of watching your lecture or writing a paper do you find yourself needing a snack? If so, make it a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar.Make sure you are also taking the appropriate time out of your day to eat full, healthy meals. This can curb your cravings for snacks and will give you an excellent opportunity to hang out with your family while eating dinner.
- Drink Lots of Water! Just like getting hungry while studying, you may also find yourself thirsty. Try to steer clear of coffee, soda, and sugary juices and grab yourself a large glass of water before sitting down to study.Drinking water can help relieve headaches, reduce fatigue, and fight against sickness. It’s also been suggested that since your brain is mostly made up of water, staying hydrated will help you think better and be more alert.
- Sleep! If we don’t get enough sleep, we often pay for it the entire next day. It can be hard to focus and tough to get motivated because we’re lethargic. Not getting the proper sleep over many nights can also hurt your immune system and increase your chances of getting sick.It’s best to get eight hours of sleep each night, so try to accomplish your goals for the day in time to get a good night’s rest. Then you can wake up refreshed in the morning and ready to accomplish more.
Stress can take its toll, so do what you can to relax and stay healthy. The extra time you take for your health will definitely pay off down the road, just like your degree or certificate!
Good luck with your midterms, and with staying healthy the rest of this semester, especially during the cold and flu season!