As many know, high school can be a whirlwind where new friends, teachers, and expectations often collide. Throughout the journey it is important to maintain a tangible routine to practice self-care, taking care of your mind and body along the way. Coming from a recent high school graduate, tips such as these made my experience more enjoyable, relaxing, and fulfilling.
- Always have *intentional* study breaks
It was not uncommon for me to come home from school anxious about an upcoming exam. I would often bury myself in my room, closing myself off from the outside world, studying for the rest of the evening. Until I realized that my study sessions were often unproductive: I wasn’t absorbing content and comprehending the material fast enough. So, I devised a new plan. After a long day of school, I recognized that my mind was tired and needed an intentional break. Intentional being the operative word here, I would cook a healthy meal or spend time outside. Amounting to an average of 30 minutes, I was able to return to work refreshed and in a mindset that could allow for productive studying.
- Go to bed at a decent hour and wake up early
This tip is tricky, for it is easy to come home from school with hours of work that could easily bleed into the night. While all-nighters and caffeine binges can be tempting, they are the fastest route to burnout. Additionally, it is rare to be productive in the late hours of the night – our brains literally require rest to continue meaningful processing. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to study for a test or finish a project, consider going to bed at 10pm, waking up earlier to continue working in the morning. After a full eight hours of sleep, you will find yourself more prepared to tackle calculus and chemistry than ever before.
- Pack yourself a healthy lunch the night before, always carrying a water bottle
While soggy pizza and fries are always a lunch-time temptation, they typically carry regrets later. I have found that packing a healthy lunch and staying hydrated are key tips for staying focused and satiated throughout the day. While there is nothing wrong with school lunches, people often feel sluggish and tired after a burger and chips as opposed to a yogurt and granola parfait. Of course treats are always encouraged, but eating healthy main meals can help the body support the mind during busy school days.
- Enjoy the weekends – hangout with friends and family because before you know it, four years will have flown right by
I’ll be the first to admit it, high school is hard. Everyone knows that classes can be tough and taking care of your physical, social, and emotional health is a challenge, but what most people overlook is the work it takes to balance it all. Finding the perfect point where every aspect of your life has its own time and energy is certainly a game of guess-and-check. In that process we often prioritize school, family, and extracurricular, leaving friends and social events on the sidelines. While these priorities are valuable, high school moves so fast that making memories with friends is what you will remember in college, your career, and beyond. So don’t be afraid to go to the movies, get brunch on the weekends, or even attend your first high school party, for those experiences are as essential to the high school experience as academics and extracurricular.