Friday, August 18, 2017

Self Care and its Importance

by Hira, Academic Assistant (Work Study student)

As we are in the midst of finishing up our exams, and embarking on a fresh new start in September, I thought I would take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of Self Care. It is absolutely important to ensure we take time for ourselves with the lack of sleep and procrastination, dedicating time to focus on your health can be difficult. However, taking care of your mental and physical health is essential for your academic performance! Below are a few tips I use during exam season to keep myself in good health.

Get Enough Sleep!

According to Alhola & Polo-Kantola 2007, sleep deprivation impairs attention and working memory, but it also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making. To avoid losing sleep over exams, make it a point to sleep at a reasonable time every day. It’s better to sleep early and wake up early feeling refreshed and ready to hit the books, rather than sleeping late and waking up half way through the day! Personally, I take short 20 minute naps throughout the day during exam season as it’s also been proven to be effective in boosting memory and energy levels.[1]

Take Breaks!

Pausing for a moment to relax and reboot is essential for achieving productivity, success, and maintaining good health. This is especially true for students who spend long periods of time huddled over books or laptops. While many believe cramming for exams in one long study session or pulling an all-nighter are effective ways to ace exams. It is in fact, the opposite! Not taking regular breaks can cause stress and fatigue, ultimately decreasing academic performance and potentially causing further health concerns.

Stay Active!

Studying for long periods of time can cause muscle pain, discomfort, and loss of sensation. Whether it’s a short walk, quick stretch, or dip in the pool, getting your blood pumping and muscles moving will increase the effectiveness of your study sessions. During exam season, I make it a point to stretch every 30 minutes during my study sessions. I find it helps me relax and reduces the strain on my back and neck from sitting in the same position for extended periods of time.

Choose Your Drinks Wisely!

Staying hydrated is an important factor in keeping healthy during exam season. However, many students turn to caffeine or energy drinks during this stressful time to combat fatigue. According to a study on college students conducted by Patrick et al (2016), energy drinks have a direct correlation to the reduced quality and quantity of sleep. Therefore, it’s best to drink water regularly and keep the consumption of energy drinks and caffeine to a minimum. [2]

Looking forward to seeing you all in September!  Enjoy the rest of your summer and best wishes as you start this coming school year!
Until next time,

Academic Assistant



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