Since my second year in college, every fall right before the school begins I see a vivid image of a huge wave coming at me. Whether looking from a perspective of a student or a teacher, I imagine myself being a surfer and always wonder ‘will I conquer this one?’ ‘will I succeed?’
For the past few years I’ve been thinking about creating a guide – something to help prevent this feeling of overwhelm and tiredness, to support the journey from the start.
Whether you are heading back to school or just inviting a busy season into your life, these few suggestions might be useful for you.
When I asked a majority of college students how much sleep they get, the average is between 5-6 hours. Do you know that in early 1900’s the average was 9 hours? Our bodies don’t change and evolve this quickly – 100 years is nothing in terms of evolution. Without sufficient sleep, you can’t be creative, focused, sharp, you can’t keep weight off, and you’re more prone to infections. If you’re a sleep procrastinator, my friend, nutritionist Rosemary Fotheringham recommends investing into a pair of dorky blue-blockers and wearing those a couple of hours before sleep. They help your brain to release melatonin necessary for good sleep. We are surrounded by different types of technology today, and it’s detrimental to our sleep cycles. Please leave your phone far away from your bed and encourage your friends to do the same. Sleep texting is a spreading practice, and it’s not good for your brain. Plus, the proximity of your phone is exposing you to unnecessary radiation.
I always envy early morning people, unfortunately I’m not one of them. What I do know, however, is that eating breakfast is essential. ‘Breaking fast’ should occur within 45-60 minutes upon waking up. If you know you’re rushing in the morning, stock your kitchen up with nuts, seeds, good fat (coconut oil, olive oil), eggs. Also, consider stocking up on frozen fruits and veggies. I have a draw in my freezer for greens and berries – these are easy first few ingredients for your smoothie. Oatmeal is another good quick breakfast – it’s a source of complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and keep you full all morning long. You can even make it in the evening and just add warm milk of your choice in the morning. I have a friend who eats oatmeal with an egg (for an extra protein boost.)
Whether you like an idea of 10 minute morning or evening meditation or you’re content with taking several deep breaths every couple of hours, these are super important for resetting your body. Go ahead, try it now – take two deep breaths. How do you feel? Whenever you want to look at the world with a set of new eyes, press this ‘reset button’, rejuvenate your body. It takes just a couple of minutes of your time.
Do you know that exercise decreases anxiety & depression, enhances your memory & mood, helps you to age gracefully (mind and body), enhances your immune system (and so much more). Find something that makes you happy – dancing, tennis, swimming, walking, try different things but move every single day. My pedometer keeps me honest, but even without it, I know I need to more at least 1 hour a day to feel sane.
If you are a water drinker, add some lemon juice or cut up oranges/cucumbers and infuse them in your water. Or just drink it plain. Consider investing in a stainless steel bottle or a cup. Plastic water bottles are bad for you (all the xeno-estrogens leaching into that water estrogenizing your body) and they are horrible for the environment. If you love herbal teas, there are so many to choose from – explore these two posts my favorite yummy tea or another on this herbal multivitamin in a cup. Feel free to combine them, experiment.
Even on the busiest day, find some time for a laugh – do you have a favorite comedian that you can watch every day? Do puppies or kittens on YouTube make you giggle? Laughter makes you look and feel younger, it makes you more attractive and confident to others, it enhances your immune system. Don’t get all serious on me here! 🙂
No matter what you do and how you try to stay healthy, there is one thing that seems to extend our life and enhance its quality. It’s our relationships and friendships with others. Call a couple of friends before you head back to school, make plans to see them in the following few weeks; call your parents/siblings; get to know someone in a course you are taking. Investing into these relationships is what ultimately will keep you sane and prolong your life.
Here’s to Your Exciting, Productive and Healthy Season!
Questions: What’s the easiest step for you out of these 7? Which is the most difficult one?
I'm a college professor, drug information pharmacist and herbalist. I teach young professionals and students how to be less stressed and more focused with the right herbs and food.