While New Year’s resolutions rarely seem to be successful, there are many tricks and tips for a healthy new year and semester for everyone.
Having the safest and healthiest year possible should be top priority, but it’s easy to forget how impactful simple things like being well-rested, eating healthy meals and choosing an exercise regimen that works best for you can be on your mindset and overall health.
“To get a healthy start to the semester, I would suggest getting adequate rest, eating a balanced diet and getting outside when the weather is nice,” Mackenna Leonida (freshman, biology pre-med) said. “Sleep and nutrition are pillars of living a healthy life, and getting outside once in a while can be a mood-booster.”
If your aim is for a more productive lifestyle, working on a better sleep schedule could do wonders for you. You can train your body and mind to be more productive by helping your circadian rhythm become more regular. These things can include exercising regularly (two to three times a week) and going to sleep at the same time every night.
To promote healthy sleep habits, also consider making sure you are getting the right amount of Z’s for your age range and turn on night mode on your laptop or cell phone an hour before bedtime to cut down on blue light from your electronics.
Many have been feeling more isolated because of COVID-19 concerns, and loneliness is a hard companion to handle. Taking the time to do what you love and learn how to be with, not by, yourself, is a great way to cope with the more lonesome moments of the pandemic. Finding activities that you can enjoy on your own can also be an extreme mood-booster.
“When I’m feeling lonely or isolated during this pandemic, I usually try to watch some of my favorite YouTubers,” Mariah Mauser (freshman, music education) said. “Even before the pandemic, they became a source of entertainment and the constant laughs are good for the soul.
“Another thing that worked was playing games and chatting with friends, reliving memories before all of this started.”
When the quarantine blues get to be a bit too much to handle on your own, though, your best option is to reach out to your loved ones. Odds are that the people you are dialing are missing you just as much as you are missing them. There is absolutely no need to be shy about letting someone know how much you appreciate and miss their company.
“Some things that I do to remedy loneliness and isolation due to the pandemic include calling my friends when we’re both available, and I try to keep in touch with those I love as much as possible through text,” Leonida said.
“Even though it’s not the ideal way to stay connected, it helps a lot to talk with people as much as possible, it helps me feel less alone and helps keep myself and those I care about safe.”
Another helpful idea to foster during the start of the new semester is that overworking yourself will never make you more productive.
Being stressed negatively affects the way the brain processes and retains information. With this in mind, cramming for that test the night before might seem like the best option when you have too much on your plate, but scheduling in short study sessions throughout the week will be your best friend when trying to increase your GPA or pass that seemingly impossible class.
“Allow yourself time to breathe,” Leonida said. “Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by your responsibilities. When you start to feel overwhelmed take a step back and breathe and relax a little. Clear your mind and come back to whatever you were doing with a clearer mind.”
If your resolution is to lose weight or be more active this year is your goal, your best option can be to find an activity that you enjoy (like weightlifting, jogging, ice skating or yoga).
After you figure out what exercise makes you excited to get active, figuring out a specific time for a few days during your week that you can and will want to stick to.
Another fantastic tip for staying more positive and keeping a healthy mindset is finding things to look forward to. When life was more “normal” before the pandemic, exciting events found the college students, not the other way around. A party would pop up over the weekend or some other social event would come up and no one had to go looking for things to be excited about.
However, especially now, finding happiness in the smaller moments of life can be one of the healthiest and best resilience-building habits that a person can ever choose to put energy into. It is a habit that will help you foster positivity and find excitement and joy in “mundane” life events, no matter what you may be going through.
Once you start getting the hang of it, even using your favorite coffee mug, or walking past that cute person in the Oak Grove can be the highlight of your day. The best part is that the possibilities of this lifetime habit are truly endless, and you can learn to find happiness in the most unanticipated places.
“When the new year comes around, I often find myself suffering from seasonal depression and forlorn thoughts of everything I could’ve or should have gotten done in the previous year,” Mauser said.
“So, something that really helps me is setting goals and putting events on my calendar. I’ll even go so far as to set countdowns so that I can be excited about things that are coming up, even if they’re small.”
Finding healthy habits and happiness in the new year may sound like huge, impossible challenges, but with a few tips and some positive introspection about what you want from this year, you’ll find that by using small steps to reach your goal and taking your days one moment at a time, succeeding is far easier than it might have initially seemed.