If you want to do your best in school, you need to be at your best—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Especially if you need to balance academics with work, family, and life, you need to properly take care of yourself to get the most out of your education.
But how do you find time for yourself and still handle your coursework and other responsibilities? Is it even worth it? Yes! Exercise can change the brain to protect memory and thinking skills. And the better the fuel you put in your body, the better your brain will function. It may sound overwhelming to add another to-do to your list, but there are some easy ways good health improves academic success, your attitude, and your life.
Practice Proper Nutrition to Improve Academic Performance
Eating right can be a challenge when you’re always busy and on the go. When you’re on a tight schedule, you might opt for fast food and quick snacks. And when you’re stressed out about school, you might be tempted to indulge in foods you shouldn’t as a way to cope. But healthy eating has many benefits. It can prevent you from getting sick so you don’t miss school. It gives you more energy so you can focus on your studies and complete physical activities. And it improves overall brain function. Talk about a win-win-win! Here are some ways you can improve your diet:
- Pack healthy lunches instead of eating out.
- Try to limit your calorie intake during late-night study sessions. If you need a snack, find a healthy option like carrot sticks with dip, fruit, or low-calorie popcorn.
- Avoid sugary drinks such as juice or soda and opt for water or seltzer.
- Eat balanced meals that contain fruits and vegetables.
How Sleep Improves Academic Performance
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Even if this sounds difficult, you should prioritize sleep because it will help you focus on your studies and make you more efficient. In fact, if you get the right amount of sleep, you will likely finish your schoolwork more quickly and you won’t have to pull an all-nighter. Here’s how you can wind down and get the right amount of sleep:
- Avoid screen time one hour before bedtime. This includes looking at your phone.
- Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.
- Find a relaxing activity to do right before bed such as meditating, reading a book, or taking a bath. These will also help reduce stress.
How Exercise Improves Academic Performance
Between class, coursework, family, and work responsibilities, you might feel like you don’t have the energy or time to exercise. But did you know that adding exercise to your routine can give you more energy? And you don’t have to join a gym or run a marathon to add some exercise to your routine. Here are some simple heart-pumping activities that give you more energy and help you reduce stress:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Find a parking spot that is farther away from the entrance.
- Opt for a walk instead of a drive, whether it’s to work or school or the local store. Or how about a bike ride? Think people and pedal power instead of the horsepower of a combustible engine.
- If you want more rigorous exercise but don’t have time for the gym, you can work out in your own home with minimal or no equipment. There are even free apps that offer a selection of guided workouts that can be completed in as little as 10 minutes.
Practice Mindfulness for Mental Health and Academic Success
Mindfulness might sound like something that’s only recently popular, but it’s been around for hundreds of years. The idea is to be fully present in the moment. Center your thoughts, energy, and focus. Meditation and yoga are good ways to practice mindfulness, but you can also be present in everyday moments like spending time with loved ones or focusing on an academic puzzle.
And the benefits of mindfulness are many. It improves:
- Physical and mental health
- Stress levels
- Overall well-being
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