As a college student, I know exactly how it feels to be on-the-go all the time. Between classes, studying, socializing, extracurriculars and exercising, I sometimes cannot find the time to clean my room, do laundry, or just relax. Over the past year and a half, I have had to find some ways to lighten my load and make juggling my responsibilities easier, since there is really no way around them and stress comes with the territory of being in college. Here are some tips that can change your health, productivity, and happiness on daily basis:
Wake up early.
Despite the screaming night-owl inside, waking up early is one of the easiest ways to ensure a less stressful morning. Healthambition.com speaks to the fact that early-risers reap the benefits of improved mental health: “The first hour of your day and how you spend it often sets the tone for the rest of your day and your life.” Saving some time in the morning to let your body and mind awaken can do wonders for the rest of day. Whether you wake up and immediately start to get ready or spend some time zoning out on the computer and drinking coffee, leaving yourself a few extra minutes to breathe will help you take on the rest of the day with a clear head.
Utilize a planner.
If there is one thing I have learned since starting college, it is that planners are so important. Keeping a visual list, whether electronic or written, can help keep plans and tasks for the day prioritized and in an order that caters to your schedule. A planner can take the stress off of a busy day by keeping everything in one spot, making it easy to check to-do lists. Plan for classes, assignments, gym days, time with friends, and any other tasks that need to be accounted for throughout the week.
You can find some customizable and easy-to-use planners that will not break the bank at the websites below:
Save a chunk of downtime each day for reflecting, refreshing and relaxing.
If there’s something college has taught me, it is that it is very easy to run yourself down with schoolwork and social opportunities. There have been many days where I have found myself running between academic buildings, the library, the grocery store and back again. There is nothing worse than the feeling of getting back to your dorm or house after ten or more hours, completely exhausted and run down with more to do. Saving some time for yourself in the day to relax and decompress- whether it be watching television, reading, working out, or even taking a small nap- can do wonders for productivity.
“Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.” wrote Ferris Jabr for Scientific American Magazine.
And even though you may think you are not being productive by going for a run or laying down for a half an hour, recharging your mind and body even for a small amount of time can make the rest of your tasks run smoothly.
Keep a water bottle.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things someone on-the-go can do. As busy people, we neglect to realize that even though skipping a meal every once in a while is alright (but not recommended), not hydrating throughout the day can cause headaches, dizziness, and even lead to passing out. Glasstic Water Bottle Company talks about the physical benefits of utilizing a water bottle: “Drinking more water and keeping the body well-hydrated have shown to help people improve their cognitive abilities and mental function. It also keeps your energy levels up throughout the day.” Keeping a water bottle with you at all times, especially if it is one of the non-disposable colorful ones, can remind you to keep drinking water and keep refilling it when empty. Hydrating also gives your body that little bit of energy and alertness it needs to keep you going until a snack is available or you can finally sit down and eat a meal.
Some cheap and reputable water bottles can be found at these sellers:
Declutter your space.
As students, we do not have a lot of space to work with in terms of living. Even if you are out of college and live in an apartment or house with roommates, you still have to work with the amount of space that you get, which most of the time is not much. Taking the time to go through drawers, closets, and storage can help not only clear your space but also your mind.
Author and content creator Allison Fallon wrote on noisesidebar.com about the benefits of minimalism in a psychological sense: “We don’t think of our physical possessions being linked to mental and emotional health, but the connection between the two is undeniable. Studies show that when we clear out our closets, it has a massive impact on our mental clarity and peace of mind.”
I find that when I am around clutter, the last thing I can do is concentrate. By cleaning and minimizing, you are automatically increasing your productivity and decreasing the stress you feel in a too busy environment.
Even if you only do two or three of these five tips, it could still lead to less stress and more productivity. Remember that while being busy is a good thing, it is also important to stay mindful of your health, and there is no shame in taking time to relax.