The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday September 26th

Editorial: Don't limit your wellness to wellness days

Junior Kobe Spells sits outside the Union doing coursework on March 18, 2021.
Buy Photos Junior Kobe Spells sits outside the Union doing coursework on March 18, 2021.

College students know all about compromises: sacrificing sleep to finish an essay, cramming for an exam or neglecting exercise to make it to work on time. 

Our lives are endless evaluations of our priorities, and in doing so, we often push wellness and health to the bottom of our list.

Wellness is challenging, and seemingly even less of a priority, given our current cultural context. Today, our bedroom doubles as a classroom, virtual social gathering space and for some of us, even our workplace. This blurs the lines between work, school, social time and everything else. 

As a result, some of us experience guilt when prioritizing our mental, physical or emotional health, feeling as though we should be doing “more important” things instead. 

It’s no wonder, given this environment, that when a University "wellness day" comes around, some of us may not even feel like we know how to practice wellness at all. Furthermore, when the wellness day ends, we feel disjointed going from a “full stop” to “full speed ahead” as school resumes.

It is valid to struggle with incorporating wellness into your life, especially today. However, if there’s anything the past year has done, it’s put our health and wellness into perspective, and forced us to recognize the cruciality of being healthy. 

You have a responsibility to yourself, your body and your mind to take care of yourself. You deserve to be well, even when it’s not a wellness day. 

Here are some tips to incorporate wellness into your everyday life:

Eating well

Nourishing your body adequately is fundamental for health and wellness. Making sure you’re eating enough healthy food to fuel yourself is important. 

However, it’s also important to honor your body’s needs, whatever they might be. So enjoy that salad, slice of cake or Cosmic Cantina burrito — whatever you’re feeling. As long as you’re prioritizing your needs, you’re doing everything you need to be doing!

Sleeping

Sleeping a full eight hours a night enhances cognitive function and memory and is linked to mental health. Staying up late to finish schoolwork is tempting and occasionally inevitable, but getting enough sleep will improve your wellness in a multitude of ways related to your performance in school and beyond. 

So, get some shut-eye. Your GPA might thank you!

Socializing

Spending time with loved ones improves self-worth, reduces stress and increases our sense of belonging. Socializing is decidedly more difficult today; however, it's not impossible. Amid the pandemic, we have forged new ways to maintain relationships and make new connections that can help fulfill our social requirements.

Hop on a FaceTime or Zoom call — you’ll feel better by the time you hang up.

Downtime

On the opposite end of the spectrum, spending time alone is fundamental to wellness as well. Downtime allows us to reflect and recharge away from external input. Having downtime also results in more motivation for activities afterward. 

Some people require more or less alone time — pay attention to your body and honor your own personal needs by doing something you love, like watching a new show on Netflix or doing your favorite self-care activity. 

Get some exercise

Being active has physical and emotional health benefits. When exercising, it’s important to do what feels comfortable and works best for you. Not everyone has the same physical capabilities or circumstances, but most of us can likely improve how much we move in some way. 

Whether it be taking a few minutes to stretch in the morning, going on an afternoon walk or spending an hour at the gym, get moving however you like to.

Implementing wellness tactics into your life isn’t easy. It may mean making more compromises, such as stepping away from schoolwork for a few hours to get some more sleep, or saying no to a social event when you need to prioritize downtime. 

That's OK! If you need a break, take it. Following your body's needs is a noble pursuit, and pursuing wellness is an essential part of living the happiest and healthiest life you deserve.

@dthopinion

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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