Back to school means lots of things- excitement for new adventures, friends, and new beginnings. Going back to school also brings challenges along with a clean slate. If you have struggled in the past with the time management difficulties and the stress that goes along with a heavier workload, deadlines, and busier schedule, you are not alone. As a health coach, these topics are popular ones with our clients, and we will share our top 7 tips for a stress-free return to school with you.
1. Schedule self-care into your calendar
When we are under pressure to perform our best mentally, we need to make sure we are managing our stress and keeping ourselves in the best possible health. We need energy and a clear focus to tackle our workloads with as much ease as possible. When we’re under high stress and don’t manage it properly, the stress hormone cortisol can affect our moods, energy levels and even our skin in the form of breakouts and worry lines. Scheduling regular self-care into your calendar will help make it a non-negotiable that is a part of your day. Some stress relieving forms of self-care could include yoga, meditation, exercise, a massage or facial, warm baths with essential oils, or a coffee date with a friend.
2. Meal plan + prep
One of my favorite time management techniques is to plan and prep meals. I like to do this on Sundays. I make a list of the healthy meals and snacks I want to eat for the week and do a grocery run. Then, I get cooking! You can keep a couple of meals in the fridge or freeze some. Pinterest has some awesome “freezer meal ideas”. Having your meals ready to eat when you get home from a long day of studying will help you take a load off and eat healthy home cooking rather than turning to take out.
3. Pencil in study time when you have the most energy and in an inspiring space
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Finding the right time of day that you have the most energy to tackle your most important tasks will help schoolwork feel like less of a chore and produce your best work. On top of figuring out when you work best, it helps to also helps to find out where you work best. Is it in a quiet, calming environment at home with candles, an essential oil diffuser and décor you love? Or is it at a cozy local coffee shop with light chatter around you? Feeling energetic and inspired can make all the difference in creating a stress-free school experience.
4. Make a smoothie-a-day
Making sure you are fueling your body with the nutrition it needs to function its best is vital. Of course, it is important to try to include fruits and vegetables with every meal but another good way to ensure you get the nourishment your body needs is to start the day off with a smoothie that includes lots of healthy nutrients. Superfoods are all the rage and are great to add to your smoothies. These foods are the most potent and nutrient rich of all foods. They increase the vital force and energy of the body, boost the immune systems and elevate serotonin levels. Some of my favorite superfoods are goji berries, cacao (raw chocolate), maca, and sea vegetables. Leafy greens have calming, anti-stress properties and are great sources of alkaline minerals.
5. Prioritize sleep
The health benefits of good sleep are endless- increased energy, heightened focus and alertness, increased creativity, improved mood, decreased anxiety, improved memory and a strengthened immune system to name a few. If you are over the age of 18 you need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Some tips to get a great nights’ rest include limiting stimulants like coffee and sugar throughout the day, avoid eating a big meal late at night as our body needs energy to digest, avoid late-night beverages that could lead to bathroom runs, create a peaceful sleeping environment by having a clean, organized bedroom, and lastly (and one of my favs) use a sleep mask to block out light-I sleep like a baby when I use mine.
6. Gratitude exercises
There are times when we are under high stress that we can feel burnt out. When this happens, negativity can creep in and affect our moods and motivation. Developing a gratitude exercise whether it’s a gratitude mediation or simply journaling daily about the things we are grateful for can help train our brain to look on the bright side of life and stay positive. Not only will this help your performance at school improve but you’ll be a happier person because of it and an inspiration to those around you.
7. Get into a routine
Of course life happens and a routine can be flexible when it does but a routine will take the guess work out of your day. A simple morning and evening routine that ensures you accomplish the most important tasks on your schedule will help leave you time to relax and do other things that you enjoy. A simple repetitive act such as exercise or a skincare routine will help improve both physical and mental health.