Read our hints and tips for staying healthy during your studies
Boost your brain power by eating plenty of berries, spinach, broccoli, oily fish, wholegrains, avocado, eggs and YES - dark chocolate! It has also been suggested that dark chocolate could cut the risk of heart disease. Remember to eat in moderation though.
As always, make sure you are eating a balanced diet of at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, protein rich food such as beans, pulses and fish, eat low fat dairy products and choose unsaturated oils and spreads. Don’t forget your fibre intake too by choosing wholegrain cereals, brown rice and wholegrain bread.
Choosing water over fizzy drinks or fruit juices will not only reduce your sugar and calorie intake, but will save you loads of money! NHS guidance is that we should be drinking 1.2 litres a day – that’s around 6-8 glasses.
If you forget to drink, you can always set yourself a reminder on your phone or track and monitor your drinking habits via a free hydration app.
Don’t enjoy the taste of water? Then add a slice of lemon or lime, or infuse an iced-tea bag. Tea and coffee also count towards raising your hydration level, so pop the kettle on, sit back and relax.
Take time out to relax
Plan regular breaks from your studies to calm your mind. Play some music, meditate or watch your favourite TV show. Be strict with your phone use too as too much tech can lead to a shorter attention span and a poor night’s sleep.
Remember to keep in touch with friends during exam periods. Taking time out just to chat about normal stuff gives your brain a break from intense periods of concentration and can help you to feel more connected.
It is easy to become inactive when studying, particularly when revising for exams. If you love playing sports, then great, but if sport is not your thing, then there are other ways to include regular exercise in your study routine. In fact, even just short bursts of exercise can help improve concentration and memory.
Go for a walk outside to get some fresh air. Walk faster than you would normally to get your heart rate up and try walking up a hill or two. Do you have a favourite music track that really energises you? Listen to this while walking to motivate you, or put this on loud speaker and have a boogie!
We all know that the average amount of sleep most people need is around 8 hours, but what if we feel like we are just not getting enough? A fitness tracker or sleep app is a good way of tracking just how much sleep we are getting and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help establish a routine, and yes that does include weekends!
Avoid caffeine before going to bed and large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Resist using screens at least an hour before bedtime too.
If you find yourself waking up during the night, keep a notepad next to your bed to jot down any thoughts you have before going to sleep.
Connect with others
Sometimes we don’t realise when we are stressed, so it is important to talk to someone if you have worries or difficulties when studying. Just sharing your thoughts and feelings with a friend, teacher or parent is often the first step to feeling better.
Check-in with your friends to see how they are doing. Ask twice to find out if they are OK as often we will say we are fine when we are not.
Plan your study or revision time by setting yourself specific, manageable goals. Give yourself an incentive by rewarding yourself each time you reach a milestone.
There are plenty of apps available that help you with managing your time effectively. Make sure you plan in some ‘me time’ too by giving yourself regular breaks.
If you lack motivation, try planning study sessions with a friend.
Look after your hygiene
It might seem obvious, but sometimes it is easy to skip basic every-day tasks if we become overwhelmed with studying or revising. Maintaining a routine of showering and dressing in clean clothes helps give us energy and sets us up for the day ahead.