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First thing's first, are you drinking enough water?
Since our body is made of 70 percent of water, it's super important to stay hydrated. Water helps the brain to manufacture neurotransmitters (those little pathways in your brain that help you learn things) and it flushes the body of all the junk food that we eat when studying. Rule of thumb is the average person should drink half as many ounces of water of what they weigh in pounds. So if you weigh around 150 pounds, you should be drinking around 75 ounces of water a day.
Have you slept more than five hours in the past week?
Our bodies need sleep. I, myself, am guilty of staying up all hours of the night studying or writing the last few pages of a paper when I should be snoozing to reset my body. Set a time, say 10 PM, that you will shut the laptop and lay down and rest. I promise, you'll feel more awake during lectures and ready to study for your exams when you get home! Try to establish a sleep schedule. It is easier to get used to than you think. The more that you stick to this schedule, the easier it will be to wake up in the morning and in time to take a shower, eat, and head to class. Even if you are exhausted and drained, it is important to go to class and be present while you are there. Being on a sleep schedule will certainly help eliminate the exhaustion factor and make room for all the information you need to attain during class time.
Have you eaten?
When was the last time you ate some protein? And I don't mean the 0.2 grams of protein that's in a bag of Cheetos. Your body relies on nutrients and vitamins to function and it's very hard to study a great deal while you're running on empty. Try eating at least one nutritious meal per day. Go to the cafeteria and have some chicken or beans or eggs, and slap some greens on that plate too! Your body will thank you. My greatest tip for students is to carry snacks with you in your bag. Munching on a protein bar during class will help boost your metabolism and keep you focused throughout the day. Snacking will keep your hunger at bay and reduce the possibility of you swinging by McDonald's on the way back to your place and taking in unnecessary fats and calories.
When was the last time you got a little exercise?
This has been the best thing that I have found to help me clear my head of all the school stuff. Take a walk around campus or walk around the track in the university gym. Exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive response in the body that is similar to the feeling of morphine. So, get out of your dorm room and get some fresh air. Take your roommate with you. Discuss anything other than school or don't talk at all. Allow yourself to clear your mind for a minute.
Have you taken a shower? Washed your hair? Washed your face?
Being a full-time student, I've discovered the secret to feeling better after stressing all day—a shower! Mental health is extremely important and taking care of yourself daily may seem like a chore, but you'll feel so much better after washing off the day and climbing into bed all squeaky clean. Put a skin care face mask on, exfoliate, shave, put on lotion. You're still a human even though you feel like a mindless robot all day doing assignment after assignment.
Start taking care of yourself. School is stressful, believe me. But taking these small steps will help you feel your best and will, in turn, help you learn faster. Don't let your body run on empty; take care of it!