Stay Healthy This Exam Season

Posted by Janet Nguyen on October 22, 2020

Academic Success | Mental Health & Wellbeing | Student Life

It’s getting cold out there and exam season is looming. At this point, you’ve been staring at a screen and you’re probably in your 500th Zoom session. Not to mention your body is probably aching from all the sitting. You’re going to see a lot of exam prep content on this blog over the next few weeks, so before we dive into all that, we wanted to remind you of a few more self-care tips as your academic commitments start to take over.  

Stretch Your Body & Your Eyes! 

Not only does your body need a stretch, your eyes need a stretch – especially with all the staring at eClass that you’re doing. 

Here are some ideas to make sure your body is getting the movement it needs.  

  • Stretch Your Body: the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a great guide for stretches you can do at your desk.  
  • Stretch Your Eyes: staring at screens all day causes eye strain but you can combat this with some simple eye exercises. 
  • Get out for some fresh air! Yes, it might be cold but even a ten-minute walk can refresh your mind and body for more studying. 
  • Set a timer to go off every hour to make sure you get up and stretch or give yourself a task to do like ten squats every time you get up for coffee.

Breathe & Take Breaks 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed this season and the long dark days don’t help. Balance is key, so make sure you’re incorporating breaks into your long study sessions! 

 Try some mindful paced breathing. Not really sure what mindfulness is or where to start? We’ve got you covered in ouTop 5 Mindfulness Apps blog post. 

  • ACMAPS offers online Meditation sessions which are led by a psychologist from SCD. It will help you de-stress, decrease loneliness and increase positivity. Check out the mature student event calendar to find the next session. Don’t worry if you are not a mature student, all students are welcome! to find the next session. Don’t worry if you are not a mature student, all students are welcome 

While we all know it’s easier to order in a quick burger when you’re hungry instead of making something healthy at home, we’d like to introduce some easy ways to make sure you’re taking care of your body this season. 

University student life is busy, and cooking can often be low on the priority list. Here are some ideas to make your snacks healthy or more nutritious, and some suggestions for healthier take-out alternatives! 

 Choose fruits and veggies for snacks over chips or candy 

  • A filling alternative to french fries or chips is whole wheat bread/crackers with hummus. 
  • Instead of a pizza slice why not get a whole wheat pasta with some veggies? 
  • Or if you’re looking for pasta options you can always switch out the noodles for zucchini or spaghetti squash! 
  • Picking up some cheese, nuts and fruit is better than getting fast food.
  • Don’t add extra salt to your meals, try black pepper or hot sauce (if you’re a fan).
  • We all forget to drink enough water each day. Water hydrates you, takes care of your skin, and helps combat all that caffeine you’ve been drinking to stay up! Try downloading a water reminder app like Plant Nanny to keep hydrated. 

Of course, we recognize that sometimes the best option is the lowest cost option but making little changes help. We hope that these suggestions can work for you!

Healthy Bowls 

Here’s a bonus tip for meal prepping. Homemade healthy bowls can be low-cost and easy options for healthier meals that you can make in bulk to prep you for the busiest season. Oh, and you don’t have to be a chef! 

While a lot of fad diets and food trends aren’t great for you, healthy food bowls are nutritious and easy to make for yourself at home. 

  • Choose your base: Brown Rice/Quinoa/Whole Wheat Pasta/Lentils – grains are generally inexpensive, so mix and match for what you’re in the mood for! 
  • Add greens: Lettuce, Kale, Arugula, Spring Mix – since I’m always short on time I just buy the prewashed lettuce in the box, it’s a little more money but it does get me to eat my greens! 
  • Add protein: Again, you can add chicken/beef/tofu, whatever your dietary needs require. There are great ways to save on time/cooking if you buy the precooked stuff at the grocery store! 
  • Add your sauce: Olive oil and balsamic vinegar can go a long way, add some sriracha and you’re all set. You can play around with ANYTHING in your kitchen. 
  • Add your toppings: some ideas include nuts or hemp seeds, sprouts, cut-up vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, peppers, or just top it with salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a healthy little meal. 

Play around with combining the above to make your own bowl and let us know in the comments if you have any recipes to share. 

We hope that these tips will help you stay a little healthier this winter season. Comment below with your health tips, we’d love to see how you stay healthy! 
Good luck with exams! 

Janet Nguyen
Janet Nguyen

Janet Nguyen is a third-year Creative Writing and Screenwriting double major at York University. She loves to spend time playing with her kitten, Bean; cook vegetarian food; read all kinds of books, play Animal Crossing, and of course, write. She hopes her blog posts can help students navigate their way through this school year!

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