Having been active my entire life, I pledged to myself before the school year started that I would make time for myself to stay both physically and mentally healthy. Here are a few key things that I’ve been doing to achieve these goals:
- Take the extra time to go buy Healthy Food. There are tons of local grocery stores and markets around my area, but food in New York is ridiculously expensive. Seriously, the first time I went into the market on my street a Clif Bar was $5.49 . . . So, every week, my roommate and I spend the time to go to the nearest Trader Joes (or Whole Foods) on 72nd St because 1) Trader Joes is LIFE & 2) it has fixed pricing, so the food is cheaper than most markets in NYC! Also, I trust TJ’s food more. . .
- Schedule exercise into my planner – literally I write it down and allocate hours during my days that will be dedicated to exercising. This way, I can schedule my studying around this time and don’t feel anxious about not studying while I exercise (seriously I don’t understand why or how people study while running on a treadmill),. It’s also great because if I don’t exercise, I can’t cross it off in my planner and i’ll feel guilty about it every time I look in my planner to-do list (which is a lot).
- BBG (Bikini Body Guide) – Kayla Itsine
- This has been my SAVING GRACE. This first semester, I have been follow ing Kayla Itsine’s 12 week BBG workout plan – usually I find workout guides like these to be unhelpful but Kayla workouts are AMAZING. They are HIIT (high intensity interval training) based (so surprising, I know), with 2 circuits for each day, 3 days a week. You go through each circuit twice, for 7 minutes each, and each week incorporates focus on legs, arms, and abs, all with cardio. As the weeks progress, so does the intensity of the workouts. It is technically only 30 minutes of exercise 3x a week, but the intensity level you are working at is one that most people would never push themselves to on their own for that long of a period. In my exercise physiology class, we learned that for maximum fat burn (& continued max fat burn after exercise), ~20-30 minutes of exercise at continuous medium-hard intensity (65-70% maximum oxygen uptake, VO2Max) is optimal. Kayla workouts have harnessed this principle and honestly, using her workouts with some additional light-medium running/cardio, I am in better shape now than I have been in the past few years.
- Running – I haven’t been running as much as I use to and as much as I would like to – mostly due to the fact that I am in school all day and it’s not safe to run in the evenings. However, when I do find the time to run, I will go to Riverside Park which is an amazing trail that spans all the way South right next to the Hudson River along the entire island of NYC. One of the things I love most about NYC is that there are so many parks like this that are right in the middle of the city, but there is so much vegetation that it feels like you have left the city. I wish I could run outside more often, but can only do so when the weather and time permits, otherwise, I just stick to the gym at the Medical Center: Bard Athletic Center (definitely NOT the greatest but it gets the job done).
- BBG (Bikini Body Guide) – Kayla Itsine
- Meditation – I’ve resorted to doing this to ease some anxiety about school. I haven’t been meditating as often because I have been so exhausted lately that I fall asleep right away, but usually, if needed, I will do this at night. It helps with 1) calming down and 2) becoming more in tune with your inner emotions and becoming mindful of yourself and your thoughts. Definitely recommend if it interests you. My favorite to listen to are The Honest Guys on Spotify! Headspace app is also a solid choice.
- Leave my bubble of Washington Heights – Even if we have a lot of studying to do, Rachel and I try to leave the Heights to at least go find different coffee shops during the weekend. If we find ourselves with a little more time or a need to take a study break to keep our sanity in check, we’ll venture out and go to places on our NYC bucket lists (honestly usually always some sort of food place).
- Set aside time to have quality conversations with my friends and family.
- Be mindful about making time to sleep. I know, this just sounds like a stupid one. . . before grad school I NEVER had issues wanting to sleep, falling asleep, thinking about sleeping . . . but I’ve regrettably developed insomnia, probably from anxiety about school. At the beginning of the semester, every morning I would wake up at 6:15 am even if I didn’t have class until 10, to study more and found myself only getting ~5 hours of sleep. Well, obviously, that eventually caught up to me, and I figured that my lack of sleep was probably hurting more than helping. Now I aim to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep so I can function at my very best!