Regardless of what your individual aims are for school, if you want to be able say that you’ve given it your best then you need to take steps to look after your wellbeing. As mentioned in our previous blog, our health and social connections ultimately impact our ability to learn and perform. Looking after yourself isn’t as simple as doing what you like because it feels good. From our years of experience here are 3 tips to get you started.
1. Get the basics right first
Did you know that fish oil has been shown to have cognitive benefits for learning and is legitimately a brain food, as the urban myth would suggest? While this is true, dosing up on tuna isn’t going to do anything for you unless you’ve got everything else going on. It’s sort of like wearing an aerodynamic jumpsuit for casual exercise (looking at you cyclists). Sure, that technology probably does shave a few milliseconds off a professional athletes time, but does it help you whip around the northern beaches on your bike any quicker? Probably not.
Before you start investing time and effort into any of these so called body hacks, make sure you are doing the following:
Sleep – We are talking 8 hours or more of quality with consistent wake up and bed down times.
Maintaining/making social connections – Friends, family and colleagues. If you don’t know how your friends are doing you need to find out.
Exercising – There isn’t enough space here to write about all the benefits of regular exercise. Find what exercise works for you, it’s not always going to be easy but it shouldn’t be a complete drag.
Eat well – Give your body and brain the fuel it needs to perform how you want.
All this stuff is good in theory, but if it were easy or convenient then everyone would already be on top of it. So how do we give ourselves the best chance of making it work?
2. Structure and Routine
As boring as it is, if you want to make this work then you need to plan, practice and learn. You wouldn’t go into an exam without a strategy and this is no different. Simply relying on will power or good intentions leaves us at the mercy of our mood to make the best decisions, which as humans we are not always going to do. If you set up a routine and commit to it by writing it down you are giving yourself a better chance of succeeding at your goal and returning to it when you fall off the rails. In future articles, we will drill down into the nitty gritty of how we can get a better nights sleep, convince ourselves to exercise regularly and engage in other elements of wellbeing.
3. There is no quick fix
Taking steps to improve our wellbeing isn’t something we do because we are feeling low; it’s something we commit to everyday to help us face the hard times when they come, and to stack the odds in our favour to bounce back better than ever. That’s not to say that a hard run won’t make you feel better after a tough day, but if you truly want to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals in school and beyond then taking daily steps to address your wellbeing will need to become second nature. When good wellbeing practices become habits then we can truly reach our potential and also start eating all the fish oil we want!
Keep your eyes peeled for more tips for wellbeing and academic success in the coming weeks!