Health and wellbeing while studying
When you're time- and money-poor it's easy to fall into a trap of studying too hard, eating badly and getting stressed. This can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health and can leave you run down and stressed out. So we've got some tips to help you keep your health on track while you're studying.
Good food on a budget is possible, you just need to know where to look. For example, did you know that you can buy a NUSA fruit and vegie box for only $15? Filled with fruits and veg you can get all your vitamin and antioxidant needs each week on a budget. Order by 4pm Wednesday for a pick up after 11am Thursday from the NUSA offices. Or check out your local markets and fruit shops for cheap deals if you're off campus.
A bowl of carrot or capsicum strips will supply all the crunchy satisfaction you crave – but with the added benefit of more vitamins and fibre and less kilojoules than snack food. Also – they're cheaper than junk food too. For a protein fix on a budget, stock up on dried legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and white beans. Soak them overnight and they make a great vegetarian base, or provide a very cheap way to bulk out any meat-based dishes.
Don't think you can't fit in exercise, instead, plan for bursts of fitness. A good 20 minute walk, run, swim or cycle helps activate your body and your brain. A study undertaken at the University of Georgia found that exercising for 10 minutes facilitated information processing and memory functions. A mere fifteen minutes of exercise every day adds up to 105 minutes of exercise you've squeezed into your week.
Aim for incidental exercise in your day, for example get off the bus two stops early or walk the long way to lectures. Plan something fun that boosts your fitness – go out dancing, or meet your friends for a game of beach football on the weekend.
Meditate or chill out
Never underestimate the importance of letting your mind just take a break. When you're in a period of intense action (such as study season) your mind rarely gets a chance to switch off. Taking 15 minutes to just switch off and chill could be the best thing you've ever done for your brain.
Never meditated? Never mind, we've got some tips:
- Find a quiet space, open the windows, turn down your phone, hang a do not disturb sign on the door.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, then slowly breath out through your mouth.
- If a thought comes to your mind (and it will at first) accept it, then let it go. Concentrate on the motion of breathing.
- Start with five minutes and work up to 15-30 minutes.
It's tempting to squirrel yourself away when you're studying, but, for your mental health, it's best to also keep up with the social side of life. Organise a study group with friends, catch up over a coffee or a walk on the beach, take time out to call your family for a chat.
Take advantage of the huge range of options available on campus and off to help you make the most of your study. There are many SSAF-funded opportunities designed to help make your study life so much simpler.