This month, I’m diving deep into a series of HABITS ideas for STUDENTS.
The secret reason behind this is that I MYSELF PLAN on studying again, though I’m in my mid-30s already…
But as a relentless optimist, I’m sure I can be a SUPER STUDENT, even much better than I was in my 20s. It’s all about putting the RIGHT HABITS AND SYSTEMS into place.
A good SCHOOL-LIFE BALANCE starts with PUTTING YOUR HEALTH, FIRST, even as a busy student.
If you’ve been drifting away from a healthy lifestyle, and making excuses because… “you have to study hard”… here’s the perfect article for you.
Without further due, here are the 26 HEALTHY HABITS FOR STUDENTS who want a GOOD STUDY-LIFE BALANCE.
1. GO OUT right after waking up.
As a student, I remember spending full days at home studying OR procrastinating.
I discovered that the best thing for me was to MAKE SURE that I was going out right after waking up. Of course, brushing your teeth and taking a quick shower before leaving the house is allowed 😉
The fresh air and sunlight always felt very empowering and I had already the impression that my day would be filled with better energy.
And it somehow feels easier to go out again later in the day when you’ve already done it once.
GO OUT AND GET SOME SUN! It will also help your biorhythm…
2. Have enough QUALITY SLEEP.
As a young student, you probably benefit from incredible amounts of energy. And you think that you can go on and on forever, without any consequences.
Party – learn – party… When does it ever stop?
Other students study SO hard that they do sleepless nights because they BELIEVE they can learn more that way. Instead of sleeping…
No matter what type of student you are, I beg you, PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP. QUANTITY AND QUALITY are important.
Pay attention to caffeine, tobacco, alcohol… they will all impact the quality of your sleep negatively.
It’s also TOTALLY fine to have variations. If there is much going on one day or two, that’s okay. BUT make sure you CATCH UP with the sleep you need quickly…
3. Go to the library or a café to study regularly.
Whenever you face a phase of procrastination OR low-energy, it’s better to incorporate studying OUTSIDE to your routine.
Most of the time, for instance, I find it easy to work from home in the morning. But somehow, the afternoon I get MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE when I work from a different place like a library or a café.
Changing scenery also allows your mind and brain to approach things with a FRESH PERSPECTIVE.
4. Do sports a few times a week.
During high school, my SPORTS routine was fully automatic. I had sports at school and played in a basketball team several times a week.
Since sports had always BEEN THERE, I somehow FORGOT to put in place a proper sports routine during the first two years of my studies.
After two years without doing any sports, I started playing basketball again. I WAS SO OUT OF BREATH.
And I was only 20! Not even a smoker!
That’s when I decided that staying fit HAD TO BE one of the priorities in my life.
For the rest of my studies, I decided that doing sports at least 3 to 4 times a week was a must! And it helped me so much keep a clear head and relax.
At some point, however, my basketball sessions started conflicting with my most productive time of the day, which happened to be the EVENING.
So I decided to switch and start running first thing in the morning. Even though I really HATED running. But it was SO beneficial to my health and mind that I started loving it…
5. Do breathing exercises daily.
Have you noticed your breathing patterns throughout the day?
Whenever you feel stressed or under pressure, you stop breathing or breathe very shallowly.
That’s not so great for your overall well-being and stress level.
Learn to breathe again and do exercises every day.
If you don’t know where to start, I’d recommend you check out simple breathing exercises on YouTube or even the Wim Hof Method.
6. Meditate every day.
STUDENTS need a lot of focus. They often study far away from their families and at least at times can feel lonely.
Meditation is a POWERFUL tool for students to be able to confront their daily challenges.
It’s been scientifically proven that MEDITATION improves your capacity to focus.
But meditation can ALSO help you find INNER PEACE or JOY, depending on what you need at a given moment.
It’s like a swiss knife and you will only rip the benefits of it if you PRACTICE DAILY.
7. Cook (healthy!) for yourself.
Your brain and body need HEALTHY FUEL to function at their optimal level.
And it’s hard to find REALLY healthy stuff to buy out there.
Cooking is still the best AND CHEAPEST alternative to eat healthily.
But it can be a challenge as a student. Maybe you don’t really know how to cook, as was my case as a student.
I remember buying a HUGE portion of veggies once. I cut them all and mixed them somehow, and it really tasted… BAD.
It was very discouraging. But in order to make progress, I bought a very small pocket healthy recipe book that I could carry easily to the supermarket.
This way, it was EASY to find out what I could cook and directly get ALL the required ingredients…
Another way to make progress is to get help from other students. There are certainly some that have been passionate about cooking for a while and use plenty of vegetables in the process.
Offer them to share expenses and help them cook.
8. Drink mindfully.
Student times = PARTY TIMES!
That’s true for most of us.
And that’s okay. I know that we like to lose a little control sometimes, in order to DARE to do more things.
I certainly felt that way.
But I dare you to do just one thing: OBSERVE YOURSELF when you are drinking.
- How much are you drinking and how quickly?
- How does your behaviour change?
- What about your body, how does it feel?
- How do you feel later and the next morning?
DRINK MINDFULLY. That’s going to help guide you and see what you can change or improve about the whole situation.
9. Use a blue light filter.
Most of our electronic devices emit a high amount of blue light that can be quite detrimental at night.
Especially because it messes with our biorhythm and our sleep.
We can’t fall asleep early and we have less of the DEEP SLEEP.
You can reduce some of the blue light inherently on the devices. But most of them STILL EMIT A LOT OF BLUE LIGHT.
That’s why I use Flux on my computer, which automatically takes away the blue light in the evening and does this automatically depending on my time zone.
Some also use blue light blocking glasses.
In any case, have this in mind when you are still watching stuff on your electronic devices late at night.
Don’t be surprised if you have a hard time sleeping afterwards.
10. Read something relaxing and calming at night.
My first two years of studies were kind of rough. I wasn’t sure whether I picked the right path for me. And on top of this, those studies were famous for being really difficult and tough.
Luckily, a few months in, a friend of mine who was studying literature at the time RECOMMENDED Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream*.
I started reading this book at night and it literally BLEW MY MIND. It felt SO INSPIRING and RELAXING to read it.
The message of this book was very spiritual: no matter what happens to you in life, if you follow your HEART you will get everything you truly need.
That’s exactly what I needed to read and believe in those times of high pressure for me.
And it certainly was a great help to IMPROVE MY SLEEP.
11. Immerse into nature at least once a week.
My first two years of study were in the centre of Paris.
It’s a beautiful city and student area, for sure, BUT what struck me was the LACK of trees and proper parks where I could truly connect back with nature.
It quickly felt suffocating to me to be surrounded by so much concrete.
I grew up in the middle of the countryside and SURE WAS ABLE TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.
If you’ve grown up in a big city, you may shrug off and think “I’m used to this, it doesn’t affect me…”
Well, scientific studies on this topic prove you WRONG. Vegetation and even the simple presence of the green colour around you reduce your stress levels overall.
As a student, I decided to go back home regularly to be able to BREATHE again in the countryside. And I also made sure to regularly spend time or run in a small park nearby. Even though Paris’ parks are more like man-made gardens, it’s still better than nothing…
12. Drink tea instead of coffee.
I ain’t no extreme person and I DO LIKE the concept of “everything in moderation”.
But if moderation means COFFEE EVERY DAY for you, then please reconsider.
Coffee is not evil, BUT there are mixed messages as to its impact on our health.
But it certainly has negative consequences on your sleep pattern, can mess heavily with your digestion AND will cause strong headaches if you cut it out of your diet one day.
All these facts make me suspicious about COFFEE as an everyday beverage.
It’s easy to say for me, I’ve never been really addicted to coffee even though I do drink it daily over the course of a couple of weeks sometimes.
And I appreciate good coffee and its smell. I’ve even considered making coffee without drinking it, just so I can SMELL IT! XD
But I’ve got good friends who were really addicted and even DIDN’T FEEL HUMAN in the morning until they could DRINK THEIR COFFEE.
When they quit and switched to tea, they felt like they had so MUCH MORE ENERGY. And most of all, they felt like THEY HAD FULL CONTROL over their energy. They all said it was well worth the few days of headache and low energy.
Try it out!
13. Practice gratefulness every day.
Gratefulness has GREAT BENEFITS for your mental AND PHYSICAL health.
It also helps you always see the best in every situation.
That’s why I would recommend practising gratefulness every night before going to sleep, or every morning when you wake up. Or even both!
You can either JOURNAL about it or MEDITATE and visualise the 3 things you are really grateful for.
If you’re new to this, there’s a journal I can highly recommend that will help you implement this practice easily in 5 minutes per day:
14. Practice forgiveness every day.
Forgiveness is a skill we should ALL be working on these days.
Many have a misconception about forgiveness. They think that it means allowing others to do whatever they want without consequences.
BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE. You can forgive someone but STILL hold them accountable.
YOU FORGIVE for your OWN SAKE. Forgiving makes you feel lighter and will help you navigate through life easier.
It also seems to have a physiological impact on your brain for the better.
Holding grudges is HEAVY and can be painful. FORGIVE and PUT YOUR ENERGY into something more useful.
15. Have a green plant and take care of it every day.
As mentioned earlier, NATURE is powerful and helps you decrease your stress levels and improve your health overall.
I’d strongly recommend you BRING A PIECE OF NATURE into your home and TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT.
In the past, I saw plants a little like dead objects. I didn’t really feel any connection directly. The only thing I knew was that I felt incredibly well in a beautiful natural environment.
But I was taking such BAD care of plants that even my two cactuses I got as a teenager died of not having enough water. RIP.
I’ve since then observed friends, family and flatmates. Some of them seem to see a plant almost like a lovely pet.
They feed it with the best water, they caress it and even talk to it.
And it seems to work. It’s also probably just good for yourself to be LOVING to another being.
Try it out and let me know how many plants survived 🙂
16. Drink enough water.
Our bodies are mainly made of water. And our brains certainly function BEST when we drink enough GOOD WATER during the day.
Quantities can vary from one person to another, but I’m most probably around 2,5 litres + of water per day.
Coffee and green, black or white tea DO NOT COUNT. Herbal teas, however, can be a great pick to replace your daily dose of HOT BEVERAGE for the aficionados.
17. Keep your eyes fit.
As a student, you probably spend most of your time watching your computer screen, reading or writing. It means that STUDYING CAN BE REALLY TOUGH ON YOUR EYES.
Most of us take this DEGRADATION FOR GRANTED. But actually, if you GIVE YOUR EYES A BREAK and make sure to train them regularly, you increase the chances of KEEPING A GOOD SIGHT throughout your studies.
18. Walk wherever you can instead of driving or taking the public transport system.
Convenience is the source of many issues our Western civilization is facing nowadays.
We drive or take the bus, the metro, the elevator… And we DON’T MOVE ENOUGH.
Meanwhile, the WHO recommends walking an average of about 10,000 steps a day for better health. And that should be the minimum.
But with your BUSY STUDENT SCHEDULE, you won’t get there if you don’t WALK EVERYWHERE whenever possible.
I realised how great this HABIT is when living in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The city is pretty small and you can easily walk to most places you need to within a range of 10 to 30 minutes when you live in the bigger centre.
But I was used to living in Paris for a long time, with my university being really far from home. So I automatically went for public transportation.
Until after a couple of weeks, I realised that I spent 15 minutes by metro when I could have spent about the same time walking.
I quickly figured out a cool win-win situation. WALKING would SAVE ME MONEY and at the same time increase my activity level WITHOUT putting a strain on my schedule.
Since then, walking has become my PREFERRED option. And when I move to a new place, I try to find a setting that will allow me to walk almost anywhere I need when it’s possible.
I even did this at Cornell University in Ithaca during my exchange semester as a student there. The campus was quite extensive, but it was feasible!
19. Stretch every day.
Stretching is extremely healthy and often underestimated. But it’s one of the components that makes YOGA so HEALTHY.
Of course, yoga would be a great way to incorporate this practice into your daily schedule. I highly recommend it.
BUT you don’t have to go through yoga. A regular 5 to 10 minutes stretching exercise is enough to rip the benefits.
20. Sit straight or even stand, if you can.
Sitting and standing straight is very BENEFICIAL for your body AND MIND.
In fact, when you sit or stand with a bent back, it’s not only really bad for your BACK. You also tend to be more pessimistic and to have self-doubt.
That’s one more reason why YOGA is so great. Because it trains your posture to be straight again.
But generally, when you study, it’s ALWAYS GOOD to change positions regularly. If possible, sit straight, then stand, lie down…
Taking a quote from Ben Greenfield: “The BEST position is the NEXT position”. So keep movin’.
21. Take a daily hot and cold shower in the morning.
Taking a hot and cold shower feels IMPOSSIBLE at first.
But I promise that, if you take things gradually, you can quickly get to it.
Best is to alternate 20 seconds of cold and 10 seconds of warm water for a total of five minutes.
And as mentioned already, you can start off easy with less time under cold water and not-so-cold water at first.
NO NEED FOR COFFEE anymore with that type of shower. You feel awake, present and grounded right away.
It also has a great impact on your health: your blood circulation and skin will thank you, amongst others.
22. Don’t eat in front of your computer or TV.
To the extent possible, EATING SHOULD BE DONE MINDFULLY.
Some even recommend eating alone because it allows you to focus on the food and chewing correctly.
While I would still prefer a meal with family or friends, I do have to admit that TAKING THE TIME TO FULLY APPRECIATE YOUR MEAL is essential.
You will tend to eat slower, feel satisfied quicker and chew better. All of this helps you reduce your stress levels, reduce your food intake and better process all the nutrients that are in your food.
I know it’s tempting to turn on our computers or TV in order to have background noise when we are alone as students. BUT EATING IS AN ACTIVITY. Train yourself to be fine with it and to appreciate it fully.
23. Learn to be happy in the now, with what you have.
As a student, we tend to be FULL OF DREAMS.
And in fact, WE EVEN HAVE TO BE. Because we constantly have OUR FUTURE in the back of our heads.
Any class we take, any event we go to… FEEL LIKE POTENTIAL DOORS that lead to our future dreams.
But you HAVE GOT TO LEARN TO APPRECIATE YOUR LIFE AS IT IS NOW.
If you are not, change something. Otherwise, you run the risk of ALWAYS pushing your happiness BACK BEHIND YOUR GOALS.
Great ways to be happy in the now are:
- Spending times with loved ones regularly.
24. Always remember that “motion” is crucial.
As a student, we have SO MANY DOUBTS about our future career.
This, sometimes, can lead to INACTIVITY. We prefer doing NOTHING rather than doing the WRONG THING.
We’re afraid, and that can PARALYSE US.
But honestly, it’s often BEST to keep moving even if you are unsure.
Of course, short reflection times can be good as well. But don’t stay stuck for weeks or months in a row.
Whatever you do, you will learn out of it. But staying inactive could make you run in circles in your head.
25. Do intermittent fasting.
It’s hard to find a proper eating routine as a student. Your schedule can vary a lot.
But ONE thing you can do and is quite easy to put in place is to DO INTERMITTENT FASTING.
This means that you don’t eat for about at least 12-14 hours in a row, including the time you are asleep.
And the times can always vary, too. If one day you eat much later than usual, just eat your breakfast or lunch a little later the next day.
It’s good for FOCUS and also to give your belly a break so that it can process everything.
Intermittent fasting also seems to have a positive impact on your health and immune system
I recommend you use the app ZERO to start. Fasting with others is much more fun 🙂
26. Use the 5-second rule.
One of the students’ common issue is their tendency to PROCRASTINATE.
That’s okay, I’ve been there, too!
If that’s one of your core problems, be sure to read Mel Robin’s book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage*.
Apparently, it’s our instinct that keeps us lazy and prevents us from doing new or unnecessary things.
BUT by counting DOWN from 5 to zero, we ACTIVATE the part of our brain that is more conscious and rational. And by moving we signal to our brains that we ARE GOING TO DO IT.
Try it out, but also READ Mel Robin’s book for additional motivation if needed.