Give Yourself Permission
This is the high-stress times. Approaching deadlines, and before you know it, finals add onto the heat and jeopardize our mental and physical wellness. We know you want to do well. At times, it may look like you just need to push through, focus on work and only work to get the best results. In reality, it is only when you allow yourself to have some balance, that you will perform your best. We encourage you to give yourself permission to take intentional breaks and engage in self-care so you do not just survive these weeks but thrive through them. Would not that be something? Below you will find some basic suggestions. Some you may know already, some might be new ideas. Regardless, it is not the idea but action that makes the difference. So go ahead, give yourself permission to do wellness.
Good nutrition should be part of your study habits. Make sure you have time to fuel your body. Eating consistently and intentionally will help you handle the stress better and get your brain working. Iron-containing foods include red meat, cereals and spinach. Food that contains B vitamins include whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts. Fish and soy are other foods that are said to help boost your brain by providing the nutrients it needs.
Time spent outdoors, especially getting some exposure to sunlight can help elevate your mood and increase levels of the essential vitamin D. Give yourself permission to go outdoors, be in the nature, ground yourself and nourish your body and soul.
Taking time to induce a relaxation response in your body means reduced anxiety, prevention of cumulative stress, increased energy, improved concentration, reduced physical problems, and increased self-confidence. You may not notice immediately but each time you give yourself permission to relax, benefits accumulate. Check out our relaxation videos here on this page:/cwc/relaxation-exercise.aspx. And come on, give yourself permission to take 5 minutes to relax.
You might be pressed for time. You may think trading sleep with studying is necessary to finish what you need to do. But consider this: Sleep deprivation causes poorer memory, reduced concentration, reduced work efficiency, shortened attention span, reduced decision-making skills, slower than normal reaction time and reduced awareness in general. Do you have the luxury to forgo sleep? Give yourself permission to catch up with your sleep. It will pay off. (Having difficulty with going to sleep or need tips to improve your sleep quality, check out GatorWell’s action tips).
Breath is a powerful tool, right under your nose, available whenever you need a break from anything. Breathing exercises are known to reduce tension, relieve stress, even reduce your blood pressure. Go ahead, give yourself a couple minutes to focus on your breath. If you need a guide, consider downloading apps like Breathe2Relax or Universal Breathing
Research suggests doodling is a great activity when attending a lecture or studying afterwards. It helps you stay focused, grasp new concepts, and retain information. Doodling also helps fostering creativity and expressing more complicated feelings. Give yourself permission to doodle about the information you are learning or simply doodle to process and communicate your emotional state. Join the “doodle revolution”. Read more at http://sunnibrown.com/doodlerevolution/.
Give yourself permission to play. It’s not just for kids! To play means to participate in an activity for fun rather than for a practical purpose. Play can take our minds off things temporarily which can help reduce stress and improve mood. It can also help stimulate the brain which can aid in creative problem-solving. Even better, play with friends to build better relationships and increase your support network. Need help getting started? Check out these 100 ways to play: http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/learning-resources/100-ways-play
Give yourself permission to exercise. Exercise is known to decrease stress, improve mood, and increase energy. It can even help you sleep better at night and concentrate better when studying. Exercise is believed to help in part by stimulating the release of endorphins in your brain, which contribute to a more positive mood. And you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits! Start today by taking a 10 minute brisk walk!
JournalScientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Begin journaling today and find out more about the benefits of journaling here: http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/