This upcoming academic year will be the first time in over a year that many college students will actually be on campus and taking in-person classes in some capacity. Because it has been so long since we last experienced a normal college environment, we may have gotten accustomed to going to bed late and sleeping in every day, skipping healthy meals for easier alternatives, and just neglecting our overall mental and physical health.
While dealing with the pandemic has been a difficult time for most of us, knowing that we will soon return to some sense of normalcy gives us the opportunity to start working on our schedules and healthy habits now. Doing this will ensure that we set ourselves up for the most productive and successful semester yet.
Here are just a few habits you should consider adopting before college classes and other commitments start back up again:
Fixing your sleeping schedule
This is one of the most obvious habits, but we should start rethinking our sleeping habits and begin working towards a better sleep schedule. Many of us were able to wake up minutes before our classes started during the pandemic, as we did not have to worry about getting ready and traveling to campus building. Because of our previous lack of commute, it is going to be even more difficult to become adjusted once again to physically going to classes. Regardless of whether you are a morning person or a night person, setting up a specific schedule will not only help you better plan out your day but will also minimize your stress.
Planning meals or finding healthy recipes
One of the classic aspects of a college lifestyle is the lack of healthy eating, whether it be by choice or due to financial constraints. Meal planning in college is also difficult because of the fact that our schedules are constantly changing and our meal times might be different each day. Prior to returning to campus, we should take the time to try out new recipes or even just start collecting ones in which we might be interested. This will not only make planning out grocery trips easier but will also keep us on track to make healthy decisions about the food we consume instead of relying on the convenience of something more unhealthy. By planning ahead of time, we will have a better understanding of what goes into making healthy decisions and will be better prepared to eat healthier regardless of our schedules.
Start tracking your expenses
Many students, including myself, had the opportunity to save some money during the pandemic while living at home. But, returning to campus means that we are starting to move out and live on our own again. This also means that we’re going to have a lot more financial responsibilities than we did while living at home, and it can be overwhelming to try and keep track of everything.
Setting up an expense tracker is the easiest way to ensure that all of your expenses are paid and that you are not spending more money than you are bringing in. By simply keeping a running list of the days you are getting paid and the days your bills are due, you will have a much greater understanding of your budget for other expenses.
Developing a consistent morning and night routine
When people think of a morning and night routine, they most often think of it being something related to skin care. However, it can be much more than that. Waking up at the same time each day, making a nice breakfast and listing out your tasks for the day or getting ready for bed, reading a book and going to sleep at the same time each night, are just two examples of routines that will help you feel more motivated throughout the day.
Working and taking classes from home has made it easy for us to disregard any sort of routine, as there was no separation between our working and relaxing environments. By taking the time now to get back into these routines, we will have already gotten used to them by the time the semester starts and will already know to prioritize these habits during these times of the day.
While the list of habits we should probably pick up before the semester starts goes on and on, it is important for us to start prioritizing our well-being before going back out into the world. If we take the time now to develop good habits and find the schedules that work best for us, we will go into the next academic year more motivated than we have ever been before.
The pandemic forced us to rethink how we all operate, and we should take advantage of the lessons we have learned while we have the chance. Not only will these habits help us during the remainder of our college years, but we will also carry them with us as we start our careers.