At the end of the day, student success is grounded in three things we all need to do. Eat. Move. Sleep. You might think: “Obviously! Everyone already does those three things.” On the contrary, when we squeeze in last-minute studying, run across campus for our next lecture, catch a cold, participate in labs, and have midterm after midterm — simply eating nutritiously, being active, and getting adequate sleep can be a challenge.
Health & Wellness at U of T promotes “3 ½ Things to Do in Your First Weeks.” The project encourages forming healthy habits around sleep, eating, and physical activity. What’s the ½ Thing? Its my personal favourite and I want to save it for last.
Forming healthy habits around “Eat. Move. Sleep.” can be hard, because doing too much or too little of either can be unhealthy. At the same time, setting yourself up with too many rules, even when set for your own good, can be restricting. You might find yourself stressing over “all or nothing” rules. As with life, health is about balance. It’s our responsibility to take care of our health and we need to forgive ourselves if we have a bad night’s sleep from last-minute studying, if we indulge in our favourite less-than-nutritious foods, if we neglect going to the gym because we’re exhausted. As students we are always juggling our academics, extracurriculars, social life, and our health. If you drop a ball, get back to your equilibrium and give yourself a pat on the back because health is not about perfection.
I do not eat, move, and sleep like a health pro. It’s easy for me to fall back into the cycle of eating too many highly processed foods and drinking way too much coffee because of a lack of sleep, all while being glued to my computer screen. This is when coping strategies are important. Some of mine are to cut vegetables up before the week begins, try decaf coffee/tea, and run on the treadmill when I haven’t moved in a while.
Yet even with coping strategies, there will be times when we are unmotivated to eat, move, or sleep well. This is where that ½ Thing is crucial.
The ½ Thing is “You Do You”. What do you absolutely love to do in your free time? What are you motivated by? Personally, “I do me,” by socializing with friends and family, dancing, playing the piano, and watching my favourite television. Even though “You Do You” is marketed as a “½ Thing” by Health & Wellness, its easily the most important to me. The interests and activities that make me happy empower me to remember who I am, what my goals are, and why I want to stay healthy in the first place. Even if you unlock accomplishments around eating, moving, and sleeping well, you might still neglect the parts of your life that bring you joy. “You do you” is a healthy habit that takes just as much as practice and deserves just as much priority. Eat. Sleep. Move. You Do You!