School-Year Success

“There’s a very close tie between good health and good education” – Laura Bush

Introduction:

Feeling anxious about going back to school and being able to manage your new healthy habits? We’ve got you covered with some helpful advice to hopefully put some of those nerves at ease.

Here are 6 tips to help you have a successful school year!

1. Plan Ahead

The school year can get busy when attempting to balance homework, work, and all of your other daily activities. By planning ahead, your day can feel a little more manageable. When you have a set schedule, it’s more likely that you will get the stuff done that you need to do. For example, if you plan out when you will workout during the week, it’s less likely that you will continue pushing the workouts off. When you stick to the schedule, you can be more productive and almost feel like you have more time on your hands. Another example would be planning your meals ahead of time. This can reduce the amount of snacking you do throughout the week and also help you plan healthy meals in advance. By doing this you will know exactly what nutrients you are consuming and which ones you still need to squeeze into your daily diet. One thing that many individuals find helpful when meal prepping is doing it on Sundays. This way you can have all of your meals ready for the week and don’t have to worry about carving time out of your busy weekdays to cook. Not only that, but meal prepping can also save you money in the future. Getting a planner, calendar, or some type of notebook may make the planning ahead process very manageable. It also makes plans more concrete when something is already written down and cannot be erased. Writing things down holds individuals more accountable to complete the activity.

Here are a few examples of simple meals to meal prep for the week:

Mason Jar Salad

Pre-cutting salad mixtures and placing them in a mason jar is very simple. It encourages getting more greens and vegetables into your diet. It is also simple to grab from the fridge and shake it up when you are ready to eat it.’

Some great examples of things to add in are: chickpeas, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, olives, etc…

Sheet Pan Meals

Sheet man meals are another simple meal to prepare and package up for the week. All you need to do is simply cut up the veggies and other nutrients in the meal, cook it, and package it up for the week!’

Example:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Chop sweet potatoes, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and salt, roast in the oven for 10 minutes

-While baking, toss chicken (cubed or cut into small pieces), and chopped broccoli, red bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash in a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice (optional to add preferred seasonings)

-Add to the pan with sweet potatoes and roast for 15-20 minutes (make sure chicken is completely cooked through)

-Enjoy or set aside in individual containers for the week!

Notes:

*The chicken can also be swapped out for other meat such as chicken sausage or shrimp

* You can also make a sauce to go over the top with a few spoonfuls of hummus, a dash of garlic, a splash of lemon juice, and a splash of olive oil

Breakfast Sandwiches

Dinner and lunch aren’t the only meals that you can meal prep for. There are many breakfast foods you can store away in the fridge or freezer to have ready to warm up before you walk out the door in the morning. Especially because many people skip breakfast, this is a meal that may be super beneficial to prepare ahead of time to make sure that you aren’t skipping out on it. You can make breakfast sandwiches ahead of time, wrap them in foil, and store them in your freezer until they are ready to be eaten. This is a great alternative to buying store bought pre-made sandwiches to reduce sodium and saturated fats. Another benefit is that you can choose whichever ingredients you want to go on them!

2. Set Aside Time for Sleep

Sleep schedules are different for everyone. The recommended amount of sleep is at least eight hours, but sometimes this may feel difficult to achieve. It’s easy to skip out on a few hours of sleep to try to catch up on homework, social media, or cleaning but it may come back to hurt you the next day. By getting enough sleep each night, it lets the body relax and replenish itself to have the proper amount of energy the next day. If you try to cut out a few hours to get back on track with certain activities, it may only set you back further in not having enough energy to complete the tasks the next day.

3. Find Ways to Manage Stress

The school year can be very stressful and many people often forget that stress can often lead to falling back into those old, bad habits. One way to manage stress is finding the proper self care time and activities for yourself. Whether it be for 5 minutes, 1 hour, or an entire day, make sure you are making time for yourself. Everyone has a different idea of down time and different activities that help them manage their stress, so here are a few examples of things you could try:

  • Read a book
  • Stretch/yoga/meditate
  • Visit your favorite places or explore new ones (favorite coffee shop, favorite restaurant, etc…)
  • Listen to your favorite music or podcast
  • Spend time organizing/cleaning if it makes you less stressed throughout the week
  • Put time into your skincare routine
  • Watch your favorite show or movie
  • Get some fresh air
  • Catch up with friends

There is always a way to figure out a stressful situation and stepping back, doing some self reflection or care and figuring it out will always benefit you. If another person is adding to that stress, having a conversation as quickly as possible is always the smartest way to diffuse a stressful situation.

4. Stay Organized

Staying organized is a great habit to keep up with. It makes it easy to study or get work done in your own space as well as simply feeling less stressed overall. If you make the goal of cleaning one thing consistently each week or each day, it will begin to become a habit to keep things tidy.

5. Hydrate

Staying hydrated during the day can be easy to forget when you are constantly going to class or getting work done. It’s important to stay hydrated because it can influence your mood and brain function. When your body is properly hydrated, it’s easier to think more clearly as well as be in an overall better mood. This makes doing your work more effective and easier. Carrying around a fun water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated and feeling energetic the entire day! Another great idea is downloading fun apps on your phone that hold you accountable for staying hydrated throughout the day.

6. Don’t Compare

Remember that everyone is always on their own journey. All bodies are different and everyone’s schedule looks different than your own. Never compare your goals, daily activities, and other ways of life to the people around you because each person is working on their own aspects.

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