Iglu Students Sydney and Brisbane

Live well to learn well

Life definitely changes when you start uni, there’s no doubt about it. There’s not only the workload to worry about, there’s making new friends, finding your way around, keeping a tap on the finances…to name but a few.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the juggling act of life and study that we don’t always realise when we’re feeling a little off-balance, or stressed. Any sort of changes in our life will naturally take a toll on our body whether that be a switch of environment, academic pressure, different customs or languages, or simply a constant indefinable low-level of worry or anxiety. When our natural balance is altered these feelings are heightened, and that takes away our available energy from other functions – like studying.

Life as a student comes with a known set of pressure points, but the smart trick is to find ways that counteract those pressures by engaging our bodies and minds in activities that will restore the balance. In doing this, we can free up our energies for positive engagement.

Here are some ways you can help beat the stress. Some you might like, some you won’t – but here’s the news, it’s only by living well and being kind to your body that you will truly get the most out of your study.

Exercise
Yep, the word some people don’t want to hear! But stay with us, as the truth is any physical exercise you do immediately boosts your mood by releasing endorphins around your system. These little babies have a naturally calming and relaxing effect on our bodies putting us in a much healthier frame of mind for when we get back to the desk. The options are endless and many won’t cost a cent – walking, running, biking, tennis, swimming, yoga, or even dancing to name but a few – and we run some of these events at Iglu. The best news is you’re also lowering your blood-pressure and improving your overall health in the process. Get moving, people!

Diet
Never underestimate the power of eating well. We are what we eat after all, and who wants to feel like a Macca’s burger? It’s way too easy to reach for quick junk foods when we’re short of time, or that pack of lollies for a quick sugar fix when we’re low on energy. But these charlatans are not your real friends. They will leave you feeling lower and more sluggish than ever. Instead, start over by tucking in to some green leafy veg like spinach and kale to regulate your moods, oily fish like salmon for brain-food, avocados and nuts for stabilizing your blood sugar and keeping the cravings at bay – and stay well away from the processed food aisle as this stuff contains a long list of nasties that can bring your mood crashing down around you. Obviously sometimes you just need a treat, and that’s ok too, just remember, it’s all about balance.

Meditation
Yes, it’s time to put the ‘ommmmmm’ back in your life. It’s no secret that meditation has been proven to improve our mindfulness and relieve our stress, and there’s certainly no shortage of apps available to download. Set aside ten minutes every day to sit in stillness and peace and you will feel calmer and more focused as a result. Try Smiling Mind and headspace for a beginners’ insight into how it all works.

Sunshine
Sounds a bit simple, right? Don’t be fooled, the weather plays a huge part in how we approach the day. Sunlight levels affect our body’s level of serotonin – the key to feeling happy. The less sun we have access to, the more unhappy we feel. So get yourselves outside and soak it all up – and thank your lucky stars we live in Australia!

Human interaction
Here’s an idea…why not swap screen time for real time. Modern reality is that most people sleep with their phone on beside them all night, and the first thing we do when we wake up is to check for calls, emails and social media activity. We have immediately started the day with a certain level of stress and anxiety. Take a break from the screens and enjoy real-life human interaction. It’s much easier to manage stress when you have someone to talk to right beside you, someone real to give you a hug, and to know that there is someone physically there for you when needed. This sort of support does not come from a screen – and never will.

Whatever your stresses and strains at Uni, remember, you’re certainly not alone. Everyone around you is going through similar experiences. To really get the best from your student years, listen to your body and live well. The rest will naturally fall into place around you.

By Jael Livingston

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