I’m no expert on health or nutrition, but I understand that all students in every major share at least one thing in common: we all have exams to worry about. I am not even a science major, but I have experienced with the mutual stress we face.
Exam week is a stressful time for everyone. It is a time where overstudying can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Yes, studying is necessary to earn that perfect grade; however, studying with bad habits can have quite the effect on your health.
1. Have good body posture
While studying, you involuntarily spend a lot of time hunched over, reading all of those precious notes you took during lectures. This bad posture can cause a lot of strain on your back and shoulder muscles, making them feel sore and tight. Building up tensions in your shoulders can make you feel more stressed. Remember to fix your posture every now and then and maybe add in a stretch or two, to adjust your muscles to make you feel more relaxed.
2. Avoid cravings
Studying can cause a lot of distress on your eating habits. You tend to want to munch on some snacks during a “well-deserved” study break. These salty and sweet unhealthy snacks may comfort you for the time being, but their long-term effects are not worth the short satisfaction. The mix of unhealthy snacks and lack of exercise is not harmonic for the body. The worst part about these treats is their tendency to leave you feeling sluggish and guilty afterwards.
3. Eat healthy snacks
Don’t know what to eat when you’re fed up with studying and need something to munch on? Try some healthier snacks, such as fruits, snap peas, celery sticks, or carrots. Trail mix is also a great snack to munch on while studying and will satisfy those salty-sweet cravings. Although these snacks may not compare to chips and soda, they will help keep your mind active and body feeling more energetic.
4. Take breaks
Studying for hours on end will not accomplish anything. Working at a high intensity for long hours at a time strains your mind and body and does not help you retain any extra information. Taking a small break every hour or so can help stimulate the mind and keep you focused on your topics. Don’t be afraid to take ten minutes to take a breath, talk to a friend, or check your phone to give your mind a much-needed break.
5. Plan ahead
Easier than it sounds, planning ahead can be really helpful during weeks with multiple exams. Time management is a difficult skill to learn, but once mastered, it can be extremely helpful. Cramming everything the night before is never fun and can be overbearing for the mind. Having a more organized study schedule will help ease some of the stress of the week, and will help you feel more in control of your studying.
It’s common for students to skip their daily exercise routine because they are too concerned over studying for their exams. However, taking a break for an hour or two can help your mind and body relax by shifting your focus on a new activity. After studying for hours on end, giving your mind a distraction can help ease your stress. It’s healthy to take a break from the books, so don’t be afraid to go for a short run, swim, bike, etc. and enjoy yourself.
Sacrificing sleep for more study time may not be as beneficial as it seems. Yes, studying more can help, but only if you’ve procrastinated until the last few hours of the day to study for that exam. Already spent all day at library? Give yourself a break, and let your body rest before the big test. This way, you’ll be able to focus more and feel better rested for when you finally take that exam.
8. Study with friends
Studying for some periods on your own can be beneficial; however, studying with friends can make the gruesome process a little easier. Keeping the mood light by hanging around other people can help ensure that you do not over work yourself to the brink of exhaustion. At least with a study buddy, you don’t have to struggle alone.
9. Maintain personal hygiene
Sometimes being overwhelmed with school work and exams can take a small toll on personal hygiene because your mind is focused elsewhere. No worries, just remember to keep up the necessities, such as brushing your teeth and showering. After a long day of working hard, taking a nice, long, warm shower can feel refreshing.
10. Consider a change of scenery
Switching up your study spot every few hours is a healthy habit that will keep you active while studying. Studying in one spot all day can subconsciously wear you down. By changing your environment, you’re giving yourself a much needed break while keeping your mind sane.