By Madison Gillespie
It’s now March, and the pressure of schoolwork can be felt across campus. Nights are getting longer, the bags under our eyes are getting darker, and spring break is always just out of reach. It’s a busy time to be a college student, and while it may be tempting to pull all-nighters and cram for tests, you must always remember to take time for yourself. Here are some simple ways to take care of your health this spring:
This is one of the easiest ways to maintain your health. Drinking plenty of water helps with everything: It flushes toxins from your body, keeps your skin clear, and treats fatigue and headaches. While none of this is a surprise, it’s shocking how many people fail to get in eight glasses a day (almost two-thirds of Americans don’t!) So when you’re heading out the door to class, make sure to grab your water bottle. Refill it throughout the day and make H20 your go-to study beverage (NOT something sugary like soda). Your body, skin, and mind will thank you.
Drink something warm.
In addition to drinking lots of water, it’s also good to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea every once in a while. The hot beverage will reinvigorate your senses and give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, one that helps take the edge off the five-page paper you need to write.
Wear comfy clothes.
Comfort is key to doing well in your studies. Any assignment, no matter how large, will instantly become easier to deal with if you’re wearing the proper clothes. Slip into an oversized sweater, your favorite pullover, or that one pair of jeans that fits you just right (a pair of fuzzy socks never hurt, either).
Take care of your skin.
It’s easy to forget to wash your face in the morning or fully take off your makeup at night. Don’t let yourself do this! Make skincare an essential part of your daily routine. Lay out a washcloth at night so that you remember to use it in the morning. Do some research on your skin and figure out the best products for your needs. You will start and end your day feeling much more refreshed, and your skin will develop a healthy glow.
Buy a diffuser.
If you aren’t sensitive to fragrance, then you should consider getting a diffuser. They are relatively affordable ($20-$40 on Amazon) and are an easy way to keep your stress levels down. They come with a variety of scents designed for studying, sleeping and sinus relief, and will leave your room with a comforting smell.
There is nothing more relaxing than the soft, flickering glow of a candle. Illuminating your room is a great way to wind down after a long night of studying. Crawl into bed and read by candlelight until the rosy warmth makes you fall asleep (make sure to blow out the candle first, of course). You could go for a scented candle with a sweet fragrance, like vanilla, sugar cookie or cinnamon, to put your mind even more at ease. If you live in a dorm and can’t have regular candles, you can achieve the same affect with flameless candles as well.
Play with your pet (if you have one).
Not every building on campus allows pets, but if you’re lucky enough to have a furry friend, then take full advantage of that. Take a study break and walk your dog or play with your cat, and snuggle with them whenever you feel stressed. Even when homework has you down, your pet will love and support you unconditionally.
Keep a journal.
If your classes are stressing you out, write about it! Buy a journal or notebook from the bookstore and use it to pour out your emotions, frustrations and concerns. Even if you don’t have something immediately on your mind, writing is a great way to unwind or pass the time between classes. You could jot down your thoughts, leave yourself encouraging notes for the week or doodle in the margins. It doesn’t have to be much; a little bit of writing goes a long way. Just find time each day to scribble down a few sentences and see how much better it makes you feel.
Buy some plants.
Inexpensive, easy to maintain and beautiful to look at, plants are a refreshing addition to any dorm, apartment or house. You could purchase individual plants or cacti, a pre-made terrarium, or get a glass bowl and DIY your very own little ecosystem of plants. Whichever option you prefer, the plants’ lush green color and earthy scent will give your space some calming, natural vibes, just the atmosphere you need for studying.
*Here is a cool DIY terrarium tutorial to inspire you:
Video by YouTuber Karen Tham
Hang up some pictures.
When it comes to studying, your room’s aesthetics play a much bigger role than you think. If you fill your space with items that remind you of the things and people you love, chances are you will be more at ease and find it easier to get work done. So take some time to print out your favorite old photographs of friends, family, pets and/or significant others and post them all around your room. As the year goes on, take new photos to add to your collection. As you see your college journey play out across your walls, you’ll be reminded of all the people who love and support you. Even as classes get tougher, these images will serve as your motivation to persevere and help you get through anything.
These are just a few ways to manage your stress and stay healthy this spring. Regardless of what you do to stay on track, just know that even when your classwork seems impossible, even when you have three midterms in a week, even when you find yourself up at 2 am finishing an essay, it’s not the end of the world. You are an incredibly smart and strong person; being in college proves that. You never would have reached where you are today if it weren’t for your hard work and incredible talent. So continue to study hard and take care of yourself; if anyone can survive this semester, it’s you.