Staying healthy doesn’t have to mean kale chips and endless push ups, there are easier ways to feel good without torturing yourself. It all comes down to a few habits that need to be tweaked, so you can starting living your best life.
No doubt you’ve pulled several all-nighters to try and get everything completed before a looming due date. While they may seem like a good idea at the time, all-nighters can cause some not so great side effects, such as reducing attention span and concentration as well as impairing memory and constructive thinking. Not what you want when you’re working an early shift the next day. Overstudying in fact has been proven to cause mental distraction and can make it difficult to retain new information. Your brain is an organ and organs can become fatigued when overworked. The first symptom of brain fatigue is lack of concentration, therefore obviously not ideal when you have a big exam the next day.
Between keeping on track with your studies, working and socialising, it’s common for stress to rear its ugly head. But you can help combat it, by making sure you’re eating well and exercising (see the following tips), avoiding procrastination, getting enough sleep and adding in some relaxing activities that you know will help to reduce your stress levels. This could include walking around the block, chatting to a friend or watching a couple episodes of a feel-good tv show on Netflix. If you’re struggling to manage work with your studies and are feeling stressed about it, talk to your boss and see if you can change your shifts to better accommodate your schedule.
Those two-minute noodles will only take you so far; you’re going to need proper nutrients to sustain your energy throughout long shifts and time spent studying. Eating healthily as a student can be difficult, whether it’s due to the lack of funds or lack of time to actually make a proper meal. You can often end up inhaling a whole pizza to yourself without taking a second to think about it. While it’s good to treat yourself every once in a while, having a healthy diet is key, so you can go about your day with more energy. Sure the idea of veggies and fruit may not excite you like a good Krispy Kreme donut, but the benefits will definitely outweigh the sluggish feeling you get after eating junk food. Try and meal prep for the upcoming week and follow the Australian guidelines for adults as follows:
5 servings of veggies, legumes or beans
4-6 servings of wholegrain or high-fibre grain foods
2-3 servings of high protein foods such as lean meats/poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts or seeds
2.5 to 4 serves of dairy or dairy alternatives
2 serves of fruit
You can also use the eatforhealth.gov.au number of serves calculator to find out the healthy balance that's right for you.
While the cost of fresh veggies might scare you off the fruit and veg aisle, tinned foods (such as chickpeas and tuna) and frozen fruit and veg (peas, berries etc) are budget-friendly but nutritious options.
Healthy balanced meals don't have to be boring, explore through Instagram, Pinterest or Taste.com.au for recipe ideas that you'll be excited to eat.
If you think that an early morning run or an evening HIIT class is the only way to exercise, you’re severely mistaken. There are heaps of fun, sweat inducing activities which you’ll actually want to get out of bed for. Think outside of the box, whether that’s roller derby, bouldering or a dance class, you don’t always have to resort to a run or weights if you want to stay fit. Trying a new group activity can be very daunting as well, but also very rewarding.
Your social life matters and can influence your health in various ways. The amount of quality relationships you have in your life can make a difference to your mental health, including lower rates of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. Even if you're not a social butterfly, having just a few close friends who you can rely on can be so important and can have an invaluable impact on your quality of life.
Being social isn’t always about organised fun in big groups, just going for a bush walk with someone or popping in to see a friend can all be valued time spent building relationships. If you don’t feel like you have anyone that you could do that with, that's ok, everyone has to start somewhere. Joining new clubs or classes in your area is a great way to build these friendships while also having fun.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information Sources: eatforhealth.gov.au, Better Health, Sleep Foundation and NHS.
Image credit: The Breakfast Club
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.