As a student, you may have spent the majority of your time on just school work and studying. While there’s nothing wrong with doing your work and preparing yourself to do well in class (which you should be doing!), it’s also important to realize that school isn’t the only important thing in the world, as you’re more than a student. You’re a human being with needs and wants outside of doing well in school. It seems obvious that there’s more to school, but many students, unfortunately, forget this and don’t prioritize important things that can severely affect their lives. Always remember that taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. Below are a few things that you may have neglected in the past.
Getting sufficient sleep
Ask a student how much they sleep and if they feel rested after waking up. Chances are, the majority of them will say that they don’t sleep enough and that they don’t feel refreshed when waking up. Noah Hopp, a student from Apex High School, says, “I think sleep deprivation ultimately just makes school seem like a chore instead of somewhere you can learn. Online school is even worse because of the ability to sleep between classes and it really ruins it as a whole.” According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from their national poll, 72.7% of high school students didn’t get enough sleep on school nights (the average amount of sleep a high schooler should get is 8-10 hours a night). While students generally say they have to sacrifice sleep to complete their work for school, many high school and college graduates have said that sacrificing sleep for schoolwork was overall worse for them than just going to bed on time, since the fatigue from days and weeks of sleep deprivation adds up and leads to a decline in quality of work. “Combined with procrastination, a lack of sleep can prove to be a significant detractor in the quality of work you’re able to produce on a time crunch,” says Mustafa Syed, a freshman at NC State. Working on time management and putting down electronic devices before bed are a few solutions to a lack of sleep. If you would like to learn more about getting sufficient sleep, refer to this article.
This may confuse some. After all, who forgets to eat? Surprisingly, many people do, and many students often skip meals, either purposefully or accidentally, due to intensive focus on school or other work. By not eating enough or at all, you put yourself at risk of becoming excessively fatigued, going hand in hand with sleep deprivation, and unable to think critically in necessary situations. Teenagers need anywhere from about 2000-3000 calories a day for boys and about 1600-2400 calories a day for girls, depending on age and activity level. It’s also important to be eating the right foods because using calories alone as a way of determining healthy eating isn’t enough—for example, someone could eat 2000 calories of junk food and claim they’re healthy due to them meeting caloric requirements. For further explanations on eating healthier, we recommend you read another one of our blog posts here
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many students weren’t as physically active as they. During these new times, with remote learning, this issue has gotten less awareness. Many students find themselves spending too much time on work to be able to get outside and do some sort of physical activity, and with everyone being stuck at home, this problem has been magnified. Many students now will roll out of bed, attend their classes, and either do their work or go right back to bed. Many students didn’t have much motivation to move around and be active previously due to things like school work and other events, but nowadays, due to remote learning, that little motivation completely evaporates for many, since being at home and being able to play games or sleep right after or even in between classes is a much easier option. Physical activity and exercise are methods to relieve stress by funneling any anger or other pent up emotions into a workout. Exercising opens up a pathway for stress to leave the body, allowing you to clear your head from any school-related anxiety, while also helping you become more physically fit. While gyms may not be the best places to visit at this time, you should still make an effort to incorporate at least some physical activity into your daily routine, which is arguably easier than ever due to the circumstances. You could choose to go on a run, play a sport, lift weights if you have them, or even take a short walk. Any sort of activity that gives you a break and gets you up and moving works, and it can do wonders for your health both mentally and physically.
Mental Health - Why is it important?
One of the biggest things to remember is that your mental health matters. Many students can get consumed by school, work, and/or any extra commitments they may have. Students can easily get burnt out and fatigued, and can easily lose motivation as things happen. Teenage years are arguably the strangest and most important years in life due to school, peer relationships, development, and societal standards. Individually, these may not be too difficult to overcome, but collectively, these factors can become overwhelming. While doing well in school and striving to be successful are important, you cannot forget to take care of yourself. It’s important to realize that life has its natural ups and downs and that you’re still young and learning both about the world and yourself. Reserve time for yourself and strive towards being the best, healthiest, and most successful version of yourself as you can be.