Thriving in Business School: Self-Care for Success
Posted December 03, 2018 by Hannah DeBevoise
- Coordinator, Social Media - AACSB International
Whether you are studying for your undergraduate business degree or doctorate in business, you have plenty of tasks to prioritize to ensure you are performing at your best and getting the most out of your education. With projects, exams, internships, extracurricular activities, and life all requiring your time and attention, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Self-care is an important part of keeping yourself functioning academically and professionally at a high level, but it also ensures that you are doing what you can to be healthy and happy. It is vital to remember that you as a person have needs. Neglecting those needs can lead to lower-quality work and even neglect of other responsibilities.
So, how can you fit self-care into your busy business education schedule? Here are some ways to take care of yourself, even when it seems like you only have five minutes to spare.
Take a Break
You have been studying in the library for three hours. “Just one more chapter,” you tell yourself. But, you are tired, and you can hardly keep your eyes open. Take a break! It is OK to take 15 minutes, get up, stretch your legs, or grab a cup of tea or coffee. Overworking yourself causes stress and may cause your work to decline. Too much stress can also lead to health issues, from anxiety to heart-related issues. Taking a break will refresh your energy, and when you return to studying, you will feel ready to tackle what is in front of you again.
In a busy academic period, it may seem like there is not time to get in a full workout session at the gym. Exercising does not need to be a lengthy production. Setting aside 30 minutes to go for a jog, do some light yoga, or follow along with your favorite workout video can be enough to get your blood flowing and boost your energy.
Finding little ways in your daily routine to be more active is also a great way to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Wake up five minutes earlier than normal to stretch, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to class rather than drive. Your physical and mental health will benefit.
Eating healthy while in school may seem like a hard objective to achieve as you balance your many responsibilities. It can also feel especially difficult if you live on campus and get your meals from a cafeteria or campus restaurants. Making an effort to choose healthy options is in your best interest. Keeping a well-balanced diet ensures your body has the nutrients and fuel it needs to run at its best—and that includes your mind.
If you shop for your own food, save time by using your weekends to prepare meals for the upcoming week. Stock your refrigerator with easy, on-the-go healthy snacks. If you’re hungry, eat! Choosing to eat healthily does not mean restricting yourself from eating altogether. Your body and mind need food to function.
Staying hydrated is also an important part of keeping your body running at optimum levels. Waiting until you are thirsty to take a drink is a sign that you are already partially dehydrated. Carrying a reusable water bottle to classes can serve as a reminder to stay hydrated, and you will avoid purchasing plastic bottles—a perk for the environment!
Get Enough Sleep
While you may feel that pulling an “all-nighter” to study is necessary to pass an upcoming exam, the negative effects of depriving yourself from adequate sleep will surpass the positive effects of the extra studying. When you are tired, you are not working at maximum efficiency. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can be the ticket to performing at top level.
Project management and scheduling can be helpful in ensuring that you have enough time in your day to study, eat, sleep, and relax. Give yourself a dedicated time to stop working and prepare for bed. Not only will your studies thank you for it, but you will have more energy to spare for fun things, like spending time with friends.
Make Time for Non-School Activities
If you find yourself saying “no” to invitations by friends because of your school workload, remember it is OK to say “yes.” Taking a break does your mind and body good.
Get off campus, out of your house, or away from wherever you spend the most time working. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by schoolwork when it is surrounding you, and getting away from that setting is a reminder that your educational journey is impacted by a lot more than just studying.
Spending time away from your studies with friends, at a club, or in a sports group can help you clear your mind and feel less resentful about the amount of time you spend studying.
Make an Appointment With a Therapist or Counselor
Traditionally, seeking mental health counseling has carried a social stigma. However, society is increasingly recognizing the benefits of mental health as part of whole-person health. Booking an appointment with a counselor, whether through your school’s health services or off campus, is a proactive way to deal with stress and a key to self-care. You might feel nervous taking the first step in meeting with a therapist, but their job is to help you make positive choices when it comes to school, as well as your life. There is nothing wrong with seeking help to ensure you are thriving at your best.
Business school can feel like a daunting, overwhelming undertaking. Taking just a little bit of time to focus on self-care will help ensure that, by the time you graduate, you are fulfilled by your business education experience and can look back on the time as a personal success.