This GradHacker post is written by Cory Owen, PhD grad student in Educational Leadership at University of Houston, @coowen
Being "well" covers all sorts of areas often ignored by busy grad students. Often we are very concerned with avoiding germs in order to chug through our semester, teaching loads, comps, and writing.
This is especially apparent when we are in the final weeks of the semester. No one wants to get sick during a period where you have to deal with not only your final exams, but also grading the exams of others. Students are dropping left and right from sickness, both faked to avoid finals and real from too many all nighters. Grad students become obsessed with avoiding the finals flu. But beyond just having an arsenal of Airborne or Emergen-C on you at all times, what does it mean to be well?
Yes, you should be concerned with not getting sick. But beyond that, it important to realize that overall wellness is more than avoiding a cold.
- How do you eat? I know that I struggle with this. As a professional student with an 8-5 job and classes in the evening, way too many of my meals are Big Mac's as opposed to a pre-made salad (at half the calories). Try making a big healthy casserole and box up the leftovers to eat through the week, fill your fridge with healthy frozen meals, and try to stock up on healthy options before the real crunch time hits.
- How do you celebrate? Alcohol consumption as a way to release stress can be a troublesome combination. If you're going to drink, do so responsibly!
- How do you relax? My campus has short meditation sessions on campus that can help you reset for the day. Or how about you keep an eye out for some of those great Groupons for a massage or acupuncture? For some, it may be a great workout session to get some of that energy out of your system!
- How do you connect? Busing the busy grad students that we are, it is sometimes hard to remember the people in our lives outside of the classroom. Make some time to hang out with your loved ones! I'm a big proponent of using Living Socialto do things like go to hockey games, make pottery, or go horseback riding--basically fun things that I'd never make time for otherwise!
- How do you sleep at nights? Without enough sleep, you can gain "sleep debt." Making sure to get eight hours is important so do what you've gotta do! Whether it is a sleep machine, a new pillow, ear plugs or eye mask, I'm pretty sure Brookstone will have what you need.
Not only do we need to keep ourselves from being sick during this end of the semester crunch, we need to stay sane and maintain our healthy habits.
How else are you staying well?
[Image by Flickr user ghindo and used under creative commons license]