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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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Healthy habits go a long way during finals week


Set aside time this finals week for a quick workout and reap the benefits of prolonged energy through your studies. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

We all know the routine: fill up on caffeine, stay up as late as possible, eat anything in sight and sit for hours on end. It’s finals week, and time is crucial with multiple make-or-break exams on the horizon; who has the time to think about what they’re doing to their bodies?

Like many other college students, this was my mindset when the dreaded exam week rolled around.

However, as I am now wrapping up my eighth semester of college, I have found that maintaining or developing healthy habits is never more important than during this time.

It may seem impossible in the beginning, but by adding a few healthy habits to your finals week grind, you can experience added success that will go a long way toward reducing anxiety during this stressful time.

Here are a few things to try:

Get in a mid-day workout

Exercise is usually the last thing students think to do during finals week. After spending long hours in the library, you’re ready to go home and sleep, no matter what time of day it is.

However, with a little time management, you can find a way to turn that mid-day nap into an energy-boosting workout.

I prefer my workouts around lunchtime so I can truly reap the benefits of the added energy. After utilizing the morning hours of my day to study or attend class, a quick trip to the Rec breaks up the monotony of my finals week routine.

After exercising, I leave feeling refreshed and ready to devote a few more hours to my test preparation, and I have science to thank.

“Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn’t make you tired — it literally creates energy in your body,” nutritionist Samantha Heller said. “Your body rises up to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger.”

Set aside time this finals week for a quick workout and reap the benefits of prolonged energy through your studies.

Try to sleep more at night, not less

The truth is, all-nighters are nothing more than a cultural phenomenon that are not necessary in the slightest. By making a study schedule and avoiding distractions, you can put yourself on the path to long, restful nights that seem to be a myth for many during finals week.

With more and more research being done on the benefits of sleep on the human body, researchers are beginning to learn just how crucial adequate sleep is to our cognitive processes.

Getting six to eight hours of sleep is of utmost importance during finals to ensure that our minds stay firing on all cylinders.

Sleep expert Paula Alhola found that multiple cognitive functions are affected whenever we deprive our bodies of sleep. These functions include but are not limited to attention, working memory, decision-making and vigilance.

Make healthy dietary decisions

You’re probably rolling your eyes at this tip, but your body will thank you.

I’ve been in the middle of countless study session where, whether due to boredom or actual hunger, I felt the need to eat anything I could get my hands on.

Whether it be candy, sweets or fast food, whatever I typically reach for does nothing to help my body during the stress of finals week. Furthermore, coffee has been linked to increased anxiety in adults, despite its numerous health benefits and the temporary energy boost it can provide.

This finals week, try replacing junk with healthy foods like avocado, nuts or green leafy vegetables. Finger-foods like carrots and grapes also make great snacks.

According to Draxe.com, the contents of these foods can go a long way in boosting both short and long-term memory while providing much-needed energy and focus.

Your well-being (and your GPA) will reflect how you treat your body this finals season, so treat it well.

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