Thompson Rivers University

Supplement academic achievements with self-care

  Posted on: October 5, 2016

Photo: Emiko Ohama

Written by: Emiko Ohama, BHK (Clinical Exercise Science & Health Promotion) & 2nd Year Arts student

While navigating that hectic schedule filled with lectures, meetings, studying, work and volunteering – did you remember to reserve any time for self-care? You might not feel like you have any time to dedicate to yourself. However, valuing your mental health and wellness can really benefit you, especially your grades!

It is important to proactively engage in activities that help you cope with stress in order to alleviate accumulating an excess of unhealthy stress. Excess stress can lead to health problems, have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and learning, affect academic achievement, as well as, result in reduced self-esteem.

Students benefit from increased physical and mental well-being when they engage in positive coping strategies to manage their stress. Incorporating exercise and physical activity, positive thinking, meditation and relaxation, receiving emotional support, proper nutrition and acquiring adequate sleep can positively contribute to your health and wellness.

The research literature consistently connects stress and depression with effects to ones’ mental and physical health. Stress can actually modify and alter your immune response. This can lead to increased vulnerability to catching upper respiratory tract infections, as well as, experiencing more colds and sickness during stressful timeframes due to triggering your inflammatory response. We have all experienced the distractions that runny noses and sore throats cause, not to mention the build-up of school work that arises when catching the flu causes us to rest.

Even taking a break consisting of less than seven minutes when studying can help you to de-stress. Engaging in deep breathing, listening to music, drawing, reading a few novel pages, stretching or taking a walk can help to improve mental clarity and reduce your body tension. Being proactive may save you time in the long run!

If you really do not think that you can spare any time for your self-care and mental health, perhaps you may be interested in learning about how you can positively impact your grades while benefitting from the self-care activity of journal writing. Journaling can help to enhance your academic learning by connecting theory to practical experiences, while expanding your perspective on others through self-exploration and analysis. Journaling also supports your personal development and professional growth through enhancing your critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Photo: Emiko Ohama

Photo: Emiko Ohama

Daily journaling will strengthen your self-awareness, creativity, and reduce stress. It provides you with time to deliberately reflect, as well as, articulate thoughts that may not arise normally in verbal discussions. According to research published in the Journal of Biofeedback, investing daily to write a mere three to five pages in a journal is able to provide many benefits over a prolonged span of time.

I find going for a walk and sitting in nature to journal refreshing. Finding a notebook and writing utensil that helped me to express myself enhanced my motivation to participate in journaling too. Journaling does not have to be an expensive activity either! I really enjoy the student discount that Opus Art Store offers (even to their online store customers) that not many students seem to be aware about! Opus Art Store even offers a student discount on the already affordable Paper-Oh journals that I love for their designer looks and details. You can choose to make journaling a relaxing and enjoyable experience that you look forward to everyday.

You are capable of maximizing your potential when you choose to make time for self-care.

Your health and wellness matters so much!

 

For references and additional resources please contact wellness@tru.ca or visit tru.ca/wellness