1. Spend time outsideSpending time outside can do wonders for the human mind and body alike. Being outdoors can serve to relieve stress, increase brain function, and improve mood. Spending time outdoors may also make exercising easier. Some studies have shown that those who exercise outside—whether they play soccer, take hikes, ride bikes, etc.—are more likely to keep exercising than those who work out indoors. Some believe the reason for this is that seeing plants and animals, feeling the wind, and generally interacting with nature is more gratifying than being in an enclosed, artificial environment. In addition, solar rays provide an excellent source of Vitamin D. This nutrient is essential to bone and cell growth, immune function, and other biological purposes. It is difficult to get the necessary amount of Vitamin D from proper diet alone, but spending just 10 or so minutes outside can actually do the trick. In fact, doctors say that people acquire the majority of their Vitamin D intake, or approximately 85% daily value, from the sun.
2. Eat more superfoodsHave you ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat”? It should come as no surprise that diet has a significant effect on one’s overall health. As you prepare to take on another semester of schoolwork, it is time you start learning to eat right. Nutritionists have identified a variety of foods that are known to boost one’s brainpower, including nuts, fish, whole grains, broccoli, blueberries, and more. Increase your consumption of such foods and try to decrease your intake of fried foods, simple sugars, and processed snacks. These “junk foods” might make you feel good initially, but too much of them can ultimately lead to a “crash” in your energy levels.
3. Get sufficient restPeople simply cannot function without sleep. On top of just sleeping, though, students need to ensure they are regularly receiving the right amount of sleep. Some experts recommend that adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 rest between 8.5 and 10 hours per night. These 8.5-10 hours should consist of quality sleep. For example, if it usually takes you almost an hour to fall asleep, this hour should not be counted toward your sleep. Therefore, you should try to get to bed an hour earlier to make up for it. A proper sleep schedule is crucial for memory, concentration, creativity, and mood. Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to truly “catch up” on sleep. For example, sleeping for a few extra hours on the weekend will not make up for only sleeping six hours a night the rest of the week. In light of this, it should be understood that consistency in rest is very important. Use the remaining weeks of winter break to establish a good sleep schedule, but try to keep it up even after the break is over! A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. If you become sick or exhausted, it will be hard to have a productive spring semester. Follow these steps to take care of yourself and remember that they should form part of a consistent routine, not a one-time deal!
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.