If you’re a high school senior, now’s the time you might start feeling like you’re running out of gas. You’ve been filling out applications and taking standardized tests, on top of completing your final year of high school, and things might be getting hard to manage. But even as you approach the end of your high school days, you must remember that your health is a priority. Taking care of yourself can seem so simple as to be redundant, but when people get stressed out, often the first thing to go out the window is self-care. And as many studies have shown, when you’re not feeling your best, you can’t perform your best. Take these steps to ensure you stay on top of your health and keep your brain and body ready for whatever comes your way!
Whether you’re studying for finals or writing essay after essay, the last thing you’ll want to do while you’re working is take a break for sleep. But as studies have shown time and again, you’re always better off with some shut-eye. Sleep is essential for forming memories, proper brain function and immune function, so staying up all night to study could be wasted effort. A prolonged lack of sleep can increase your risk of chronic health conditions like weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Getting fewer than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep also takes a toll on perception, focus and judgment. People who stayed up all night cramming for exams typically did worse than the students who took a few hours to sleep, and this holds true in nearly every study on the subject.
What you eat really influences how you feel every day, so it’s important to make sure you keep your diet balanced. Getting enough vitamins, minerals and macronutrients from your food can help you sustain your energy and focus throughout the day, in addition to keeping you from getting sick and allowing your body’s systems to function properly. A good rule of thumb is to get between five and 13 servings of fruits and veggies a day, and to limit your consumption of processed, sugary and high-fat foods.
Take time for you
No one can work forever; time for rest and relaxation is an essential part of accomplishing your goals. It might feel wrong to relax when you have a long list of tasks left to get through, but you’ll actually work better after your mind has had some time to recharge. Willpower is a muscle, and just like every other muscle in your body, some rest is essential in order to keep you on task.
Keep track of your deadlines
There’s perhaps no worse feeling than realizing you’ve forgotten an important obligation or due date. Leaving yourself without enough time to complete things to your satisfaction will make you anxious and frustrated, and the quality of your work will suffer. Make sure you leave ample time for you to complete everything, and begin planning to complete assignments as soon as you know they’re due.
Remember what’s important
Of course your grades and activities are important, but at the end of the day, you matter more. If you find yourself missing things that are important to you, like family functions, get-togethers with friends or other events you care deeply about, you might need to evaluate whether the sacrifices are worth it. In the grand scheme of things, will it matter more that you went to the event you cared about or that you finished up some school work?
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is true, but we hope you’ll consider another wise piece of advice: “Take care of number one.” You have it in you to make it to the finish line, but keep your health and happiness among your top priorities so you can have the energy to end the year strong! Make your profile on CFNC.org to see how CFNC can help make the application process easier.