Wellness Corner: Start the Year with the End in Mind

   Happy New Year!  It’s not only the beginning of 2017 but the beginning of a brand new semester as well.
   As you get started on new classes, new clubs and new adventures, take a few minutes to put some simple habits and thoughts in place that will help you start well and finish even stronger.
   We all know that the end of a semester is much more stressful than the beginning.  So, what can you do now to take some pressure off at the end?
   Read on to set yourself up for success now and in May.
Start with healthy sleep
   Cold and flu season is not the time for all-nighters.  Sure, a late movie or adventure here and there are fine, but make it a habit to go to bed before midnight more often than not and to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep regularly.  Have trouble falling asleep?  Stop using/looking at your electronic devices one hour before bed; the blue light they emit interrupts our sleep cycle.
   Cut out caffeine after 12:00 pm and establish a bedtime routine by washing your face, brushing your teeth and putting on pajamas at relatively the same time every night.
Get some exercise
   It is easy to become depressed, bored, anxious or restless this time of year, and part of that might be due to a lack of consistent exercise.
   Take advantage of the many free options for students going on right now like free Zumba classes in Dacotah Hall Gym, the use of the new Barnett Center fitness room, lap swimming at the Barnett Center, or a walk around the track or gym listening to some great music.
   Playing your favorite intramural sport might be a great option too. Choose from one of the many that Norther has to offer.
   Exercise will not only keep you happier and healthier but will give you a break from the school work and help you work off some stress as the semester progresses.
Get ahead during syllabus week
   It is easy to put off starting on projects and homework that isn’t due right away, but imagine how good it would feel to be ahead of the deadlines instead of chasing them down late at night!
   Use your time wisely now to get some reading done, start your papers with a title and some free-writing and brainstorm a project long before the first deadline approaches – you will be glad you did as January quickly turns into February when spring break and midterms are just around the corner.
Fuel your body with good food
   Celebrating holidays over the semester break often means eating vast amounts of sugar, fat, and salt.  Fuel yourself for long days at school and work by carrying fruit, granola and water in your bag during the day and by making good choices at meal times.
   Be sure to get plenty of vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grain pasta, and bread.
Don’t over commit yourself
   With all the excitement at the beginning of the semester it’s easy to over commit to too many activities, organizations, or hours at work before you know what your class schedule is going to demand academically.
   Pretty soon you are overwhelmed and not enjoying anything because there’s too much of everything.
Be discerning with your memberships
   Sure, your five clubs might all look good on a résumé, but it’s not fair to yourself or the other club members to only show up some of the time and not be fully engaged because you are too busy.
   Instead, choose a couple of clubs or organizations that you really enjoy or where you are learning skills and having experiences that will benefit you academically or personally in the future. If you only choose a few, you can do each of them well, instead of choosing too many and doing none of them well.

Ashley Geist-Cusik