Finals Week Healthy Eating and Self-Care Tips from the NOWs

April 26, 2018

During RRR week make sure to REPLENISH your energy to study effectively! Throughout RRR week and Finals Week, it’s easy to fall into the cycle of studying and preparing for finals while not making enough time to take care of yourself. But did you know that you can combat stress simply by taking care of your health and well-being? Check out some of these tips from the Nutrition Outreach Workers (NOWs) to keep your mind and body energized and ready to take on finals!

Enhance your learning by getting a full night of sleep.

After a full day of studying, your brain needs time to consolidate everything you’ve learned into your memory. That’s where sleep comes in! The more you learn, the more you need to sleep and the better you retain the information. Remember, pulling all-nighters deprives your body of the sleep it needs to consolidate everything you’ve learned for the day. Plus, sleep is your natural energy source! Make sure you get enough sleep so you can have the energy to start a new day of studying. Aim for 7-9 hours a day.

Be mindful of how you’re feeling while you study. 

Listen to your body and take steps to replenish what your body is asking for! Hungry? Eat a granola bar and fresh fruit. Having 2 food groups for a snack provides the nutrients you need to fuel you in between meals. Thirsty? Coffee with espresso shots sounds tempting but try antioxidant-rich green tea, instead. If you absolutely need your coffee, make sure you stay hydrated with water. Sleepy? Take a walk around the 5th-floor Moffitt or watch the antics of our beloved Berkeley squirrels. You will study at your best when your body is at its best.

Nourish your body with balanced meals. 

Eat a balanced meal consisting of protein, grains, and vegetables. Try to avoid eating large or heavy meals right before studying, this might cause you to feel more sluggish. When you nourish your body with nutrients throughout the day, your energy levels remain constant to help power you through those studying sessions! Although there is no right way to eat, you should work towards an eating pattern that feels best to your body and makes sense with your lifestyle.

Limit caffeine and sugar intake

Processed, refined sugars found in candy, cookies, and sugary beverages may cause you to feel sluggish after eating them. Try grabbing a snack of berries or nuts before drinking a caffeinated or sugary beverage. These foods provide nutrients and digest more slowly, making you feel full and keeping blood sugar more stable.

Prepare meals and snacks in bulk to last you a couple of days. 

When you’re studying for long stretches of time, it can be hard to spare time to prepare three meals a day, seven days a week. Prepare large portions of stews, chilis, and pasta so the next time you get hungry, you can simply pop them in the microwave! While waiting for stew and chilis to simmer, you can get some studying time in! Cut a bunch of fruits and put them in a container, so you can have a nutrient-rich fruit salad for a snack that can last throughout the week.

Get your body moving to reduce stress and refocus.

Set aside time for yourself every day or every other day to exercise. Exercising boosts blood flow to the brain, supplying it with more nutrients that lead to mood-enhancing effects. Exercise releases endorphins! Since endorphins make you feel better, your productivity increases and you can get more things done. When your mood is low, you can feel sleepy because your energy is low.

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Take a walk around the library. Set up a yoga mat at home and watch a couple of yoga tutorials on YouTube. While at the gym, watch Course Captures instead of Netflix to review or catch up on the material. Or, take this time to turn off your brain and just enjoy the feeling of moving your body.

Indulge yourself every once in a while.

Treat yourself for an hour or two in between study sessions to unwind and recharge! If that means watching videos, set up a reasonable time limit for yourself. One hour is recommended! Watch two episodes of your favorite 30-minute show or 1 hour of your favorite show! Take advantage of the free 15-minute sessions in the massage chairs at UHS. Cooking or baking can be a fun, relaxing study break!