Becoming More Well-Balanced In 2019
New Year’s Resolution: Become More Well-Balanced
By Chloe Cornell
In the upcoming year, becoming more well-balanced is at the top of our resolutions lists. As students, the majority of our days are comprised of high-stress tasks from school work, test prep, papers and multiple extracurriculars to enhance our resumes. If you factor in the ever-increasing time-suck of social media, there is scarce time for anything else. So working within our limited time-frame, we came up with some simple methods to incorporate wellness into our high-stress lifestyles. Here’s our suggestions of things we can do in 2019 to improve our health as students.
Meditating is like exercise for your brain. With most students turning to social media for a mental escape throughout the day, the non stop use of technology is preventing our brains from ever shutting off. To release stress and remain productive, we need to clear our minds and make room for new stuff to come in. Anyone can take 5 minutes out of their day (preferably in the morning as meditation actually energizes your brain) to meditate to promote calm and focus throughout the day. Ironically, there are great apps available to help your meditation practice! Check out the apps Headspace and Calm to learn some different meditation techniques.
2. Deep Breathing
What is this you ask? Well, deep breathing is actually a great method to immediately reduce anxiety, help with mindfulness, and possibly increase alpha brain-waves (which in layman’s terms means you will feel relaxed, like when you are daydreaming). With a daily practice of deep breathing one or two times a day, you will be also be able to limit your stress response to daily stressors. Dr. Andrew Weil’s popular breathing method is to inhale through your nose for four counts, hold for seven counts, and exhale for eight counts. Doing this for one or two minutes sends a message to your brain to relax which translates to your whole body. This is a great technique to use before bed to silence your mind and fall asleep, but can also be used while playing sports to reduce anxiety.
Exercise gets oxygen flowing to your brain which is valuable to produce quality schoolwork. It is also a great way to release stress and stay healthy. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you do, as long as you get some physical activity every day. Even if your only time is right before bed or first thing in the morning and you don’t want to break a sweat, doing some stretches and yoga poses can release endorphins (happy hormones) and reduce stress.
4. Healthy Eating
When you’re in a rush to get back to studying (or social media stalking), eating healthy can be hard, especially when that bag of chips is eyeing you from the pantry. Although the high-calorie junk food may be more tasty, scientists have proven that brain synapses and several other brain molecules related to learning and memory are negatively affected by unhealthy diets. So when grabbing a snack before starting your homework, make sure it’s healthy because it will help you both retain the information and complete your studying faster so you have more time for the things you actually enjoy 🙂
To jump start all of our 2019 diets, Veganuary is starting. Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to test out being vegan for the month of January with the hopes that they will continue the lifestyle for the rest of the year. Being vegan benefits animals and the environment as well as your nutrition and health. For those interested in Veganuary, click here to read more about it.
5. Getting Enough Sleep
Last but definitely not least… SLEEP!!! We all want to watch that last episode of our binge show at 11:45 on a school night but is it really worth it? Getting the right amount of sleep is super important because besides ensuring alertness the following day, sleep can help prevent depression. Scientists at Duke University have recently discovered that women need more sleep than men, so make going to sleep a priority over all (including male) distractions.