University of Florida | GatorWell Health Promotion Services - Health Topic

Practice Balance

UF students report that stress is the top health concern that adversely affects their academic success. Feeling overwhelmed with all that you have to do can lead to procrastination.  Just remember that even small steps will move you closer to your goal.

These strategies can help you finish the semester well:

Preplan: Set goals, identify priorities, create a schedule, and start early!

Assess your workload. What do you need to do between now and the end of the semester? Try using a planner or calendar to help you prioritize what to tackle first. Make a daily or weekly to-do list and break big projects into small steps. It helps to have things written down so that you don't have to worry about forgetting important tasks.

Get Active: Fit some type of physical activity into your schedule every day.

Try fitting some type of physical activity into your schedule every day. Exercise helps your muscles release tension, burns off stress hormones, and releases endorphins (feel-good hormones). If you are having trouble finding time to go to the gym multiples times a week, try incorporating simple things such as going for a walk between classes or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at your dorm.

Break it Up: Take regular study breaks.

Taking 5-10 minute breaks throughout your day will help you get a fresh look at what you are working on and can reduce frustration. A quick exercise break, even a 10-minute walk can help reduce tension and improve your concentration when you return to the task.

Relax: Take time for you by building a little relaxation into each day.

Make time for yourself!  Living a balanced life is important to your overall wellbeing.  Schedule time to take care of yourself and manage your stress. 
Learn how to calm yourself in a stressful situation.  Try deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization exercises.

Rest Up: Get adequate sleep to feel rested every day.

Sleep helps to consolidate memory and learning, increases your ability to process new information, and boosts mood and energy levels. We need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to perform optimally.
Avoid “pulling all-nighter’s” before exams as this can significantly impact your ability to accomplish your best work.

Find a study buddy or accountability partner.  Plan ways to reward each other for crossing key tasks off your to-do list. Even small positive rewards can boost your mood and reinforce all the hard work you have been doing. Knowing that something you enjoy awaits can also increase your motivation to stay focused and finish the task.

Set up a time with your roommates to clean up shared living spaces together to reduce overwhelming clutter and help with organization and time management.
Take a trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store together and stock up on fresh produce, lean proteins, and whole grains.  Find ways to make creative meals together from your healthy purchases. 
De-stressing can be as simple as hanging out with a friend and talking about each other’s stressors.
Set aside time to do something that you enjoy together such as volunteering, hiking, dancing, going to sporting events, or watching your favorite TV show.

Know someone that is experiencing high stress right now?  Share these strategies with them and even offer do things with them that you both enjoy.

Encourage your friends, classmates, co-workers, significant others, etc. to take some time for themselves. Remind them that it can help with their academic success.
Know resources to suggest if they ask.

More strategies to manage your stress and time from GatorWell.

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