It’s the most wonderful time of the year, well almost. First you have to get through the end of semester work, final projects and exams (and of course the holidays themselves are stressful for many of us).
Although self-care is always important, it’s particularly necessary this time of year. So we thought we would share our ideas on how to continue to practice self-care during the season you may need it most!
Here is some advice from our Wellness staff on how to care for yourself during this busy time of year:
Set aside some “me” time:
- Whatever that means for you, but it should be something that helps you wind down and relax (meditate, nap, draw, read for fun, play games etc.). We promise you will be more productive if you give yourself a break.
- Set boundaries and remember to do things you enjoy!
- Take frequent breaks, a walk or even a few standing leg swings will rejuvenate your mind!
- The “legs up the wall” yoga pose is a great stress buster, all you need is a wall. Spend 5-10 minutes to counteract all that sitting.
- Try a “seated spine twist” for a quick pick me up for your nervous system. Just sit tall and grab the arms of the chair. Take look over each shoulder for about 15 seconds.
- Don’t forget “breath work” which is always valuable! A quick deep inhale followed by a long slow exhale will calm your sympathetic nervous system while the reverse will energize!
Sleep, sleep, sleep and stay healthy:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule, we know its crunch time, but 7-9 hours of sleep will help your memory more than an extra hour or two of studying.
- Stay healthy! Keep those hands clean!
Don’t forget to eat!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could offer you some secret eating tips to help boost your memory? Well we don’t have any magic formulas but we do have some good advice.
- Think Healthy Fats
There is strong evidence that the same anti-inflammatory properties that help protect your heart can improve memory. These fats include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil and flax.
- Devour Dark Fruits and Veggies
Fruits like blueberries, strawberries and dark green veggies like spinach, broccoli and collards are full of phytonutrients with memory boosting properties.
- Enjoy Whole Grain Goodness
Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and whole grain breads are an integral part of an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet. This type of eating promotes increased blood flow to the brain and has been linked to improved memory.
Remember we don’t eat nutrients in isolation for best results include these foods as part of a healthy eating pattern.
- Remember to eat regularly throughout the day and stay hydrated:
Your brain needs energy to function and recall facts, if you go too long without eating you may find yourself easily distracted and somewhat more anxious.
Staying hydrated will help improve energy and stamina, so keep a water bottle or cup of herbal tea close by while you work.
Good luck from the Student Wellness Team and Duke Recreation and Physical Education!