My fellow Wildcats, this is it; the time of year is here where optimism starts to dwindle. Mid-semester has caught up to us, and with it come the exams and essays – but more than school work rides the mid-semester wave, as the New Hampshire winter is creeping in to wrap us all in cold grayness. It can be easy to let the stress of academic life and the blues of the imminent winter overwhelm you, but I challenge you all to focus yourself on your wellness this year.
“Wellness” sounds like a horrifically boring thing to think about – like a dentist giving you the flossing lecture or the flight attendant’s safety talk before the plane can leave the terminal. Like both of these, thinking about your wellness is an important step – for the prevention of tooth decay, preparation for a disaster, and the planning of a fulfilling and happy life.
And really, what could be more compelling than planning to feel better?
All of us are doing great in some of these areas and struggling in others. Personally, I’ll be focusing on my physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness this semester – and using those areas to push myself through the stress of the second half of the semester and the dreariness of the New Hampshire winter months.
Physical wellness is what we all tend to think of when we talk about “wellness” – maintaining physical health through nutrition and exercise – but it also includes dealing with stress and getting enough sleep. As college students, most of us know the pains of stress and under-sleeping. My plan is to fix my sleeping habits and conquer my stress, to vastly improve my lifestyle.
Step one: my yellow smiley face stress ball from UNH Health Services – available for free to all students. This thing is great, helping me focus and relax, getting more done and feeling better about it.
Fixing my sleeping habits is pretty self-explanatory; I need to get my butt to bed. I’ll also be using my diet and exercise as a chance to feel better – eating healthier to give myself more energy, and using exercise to shake the winter depression. Have you ever taken a walk through College Woods in the dead of winter? Nothing beats it for reminding you that the birds are still chirping and that blue skies still exist between the grey.
Emotional wellness will also be a key focus for me. Managing stress will be a key piece here, but also making sure I build time in my life to relax and take my mind off the hectic academia. The planned and purposed breaks will give me the boosts I need to keep from feeling dreary.
Finally, I’ll focus on my spiritual wellness. I know a lot of you just shut down. I hear you, and I understand – but no one is preaching anything at you. Spiritual wellness doesn’t imply any religious or supernatural beliefs – just a way to live your life in a meaningful way. I will be using one of my passions, philosophy, to advance my spiritual wellness. I’ll take time for myself to think about my life and where I’m headed and how I’m going to get there. A little introspection will help me solidify my values and my beliefs, to better understand my perspective on the world, the people in it, and how to carry on.
This semester, Wildcats, take an interest in your wellness – move your life in the direction you want to, to be happy and feel fulfilled. Take some time to think about your habits and your ideas, and help build yourself a direction in life that will lead to the best possible life for you.