Staying Healthy During Final Exams

It’s the last week of class here at BU Law, and that means one thing – finals season in here. As the end of my 1L year draws near, we all know that my body is a temple and I am a pure being who eats nothing but kale I’m one short night away from double-fisting two cold brew iced coffees trying to remember what sleep is. As study schedules expand and the amount of time in the day seems to shrink, it can be hard trying to stay healthy right about now. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that our bodies can only function as well as we allow them to, and ultimately we’ll be much better off if we take good care of ourselves. Luckily, there are some things that we can try to do to make staying healthy during finals a little bit easier.

Before we begin, something to consider at the outset – and this seems to be the one piece of advice that frequently makes it into my blog posts, regardless of topic – figure out what is going to work best for you. You know yourself best, and it’s all about being realistic. If you aren’t someone who exercises regularly, it might not be a good idea to go into finals season expecting to wake up at 7 AM every morning to go for a run. Or maybe you love exercising but have never been able to cook without lighting something on fire, and cooking dinner every night is just not going to happen. Everything is about balance, and you don’t want your new health kick to end up stressing you out even more. Even baby steps towards healthier living can make a world of difference.

1. Stay hydrated
This is so important, and yet often overlooked. When you are going to be spending long days studying, properly hydrating your body is a simple way to keep yourself functioning at top form. It will help keep you feeling awake and energized, and less likely to reach for those cookies that you totally only brought for your study group to have and not just for you. Infusing your water or even just adding lemon juice can be even better, and have great effects on your metabolism and energy level.

Not your forte?
Just fill one large water bottle and bring it with you when you leave in the morning, and try to finish it by the end of your day.

2. Eat Well
In a similar vein to staying hydrated, monitoring what you put into your body is incredibly important to make sure you are functioning at your highest capacity. Eating the right kinds of foods can mean the difference between being alert and being sluggish and jittery, particularly if you’re drinking a lot of caffeine. Don’t skip meals, and try to opt for more generally healthy options. Instead of fried foods, see if there are grilled options. Instead of fries on the side, maybe opt for fruits instead.

Not your forte?
The next time you go to the grocery store, focus just on your snack selections. Instead of potato chips and candy, opt for popcorn and nuts. That way when you don’t need to think about how to prepare healthy meals and can just reach for snacks during a study grind.

3. Exercise
Exercising is a proven way to help clear your mind and improve your mood. The benefits that accompany even just 15 minutes of exercise are huge, and particularly helpful to you and your body during exam season. Be reasonable here- this is just about making choices to be more active throughout the day, whether its a getaway gym session, or just a walk around the neighborhood.

Not your forte?
Just do a routine of squats, push-ups, and sit-ups for 5 or 10 minutes either in the morning or at night. This light exercise will help boost your metabolism and help you sleep a little easier at night.

4. Relax
Ultimately, you won’t be any good during the exam if you’re a nervous wreck. Making sure that you maintain your sanity is also an important part of adequate exam preparation, and it needs to stay at the top of your priority list. This will look different for everyone! For some, it may mean making sure you get enough time to sleep every night. For some, it may mean unplugging from virtual reality and spending some quality time with friends or family. Whatever your preferred relaxation method is, make sure that you make time for yourself to get some rest and relaxation in.

Not your forte?
If this is challenging for you, or you need help identifying ways to manage stress, BU has some excellent resources for students. Take the time to make an appointment with a counselor at Student Health Services, or ask a faculty member for advice.

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