Opinion, Staff Editorial

Prioritize health during hectic semester

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This semester has felt like a punch to the gut in a lot of ways. Hordes of burnt-out students crowd the library, madly trying to study what they may have learned weeks ago, before the hurricane. Student organizations scramble to figure out how to engage members who are more focus on their classes and regain membership lost in the almost three weeks away from campus. The semester teeters between feeling like it’s almost over and feeling endless – because now it doesn’t end until Dec. 20.

Take a deep breath.

Being a college student can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re an engaged college student, which if you’re reading the campus newspaper editorials, you probably are.

The professionals reading this may be laughing at us complaining about our “responsibilities,” but they truly can pile up – even more so than for working professionals. Most of us have full-time class schedules. Many of us work part-time – sometime multiple – or full-time jobs. Others have many extracurricular involvements and leadership positions. Balancing all of that with the expectation of a full social schedule, eating, sleeping and other general health needs – it’s not laughable.

It’s the Wellness Center’s Healthy Campus Week, and although you’ve probably heard it before, you deserve a reminder to prioritize your health – both mental and physical. Despite responsibilities that may seem more important, there’s no way you can take care of business unless you’re taking care of yourself.

Schedule, schedule, schedule.

Break everything down into 24 hours at a time. If you think about the week as a whole, it can be overwhelming and impossible to multitask. Just think about what you need to get done today. Lists are lifesavers. Then, all you have to do is get through the day. Schedule meals and full nights of sleep. Those hours are not wasted because your productivity (and sanity) when you’re full and well-rested will skyrocket. And please, enough with the I-slept-less-than-you, I’m-more-stressed-than-you contests.

Legitimately make time each day to do something stress relieving. Thirty minutes watching your favorite TV show or spent out on a walk will not make or break your schedule, but it will make you happy, and you’ll savor those moments more.

Feel free to say no.

It’s okay to say no; you don’t need to please everyone. You’re not a failure if you let someone down, and you’ll usually be surprised by how understanding people can be – even professors because they’re people, too. Don’t be afraid to fall short in one area like academics or work. If you’re healthy, and there’s not a true tragedy in that area, you’re going to be fine. It’s OK to prioritize and say no to doing things that are not pressing. It’s also OK to bail on plans.

Be with your people.

Call your parents or loved ones to vent. Even if it might worry them, it will make you feel better. Surround yourself with people who calm you rather than aggravate your stress. Do nice things for friends, like bringing them snacks, and thank your friends who reciprocate. If you have some spare change one day, take a colada to class and pass around tiny cups of Cuban coffee – it’s the guaranteed fastest way to make friends.

If all else fails, make an appointment at the counseling center. There’s no reason to be embarrassed or afraid to go. They can help with all kinds of issues, even things that may feel insignificant, such as time management.

And most importantly, don’t stress out about being stressed. It’s completely normal, and even if you don’t or can’t end up doing any of these things, you’re still going to be OK.

For more information on how to book an appointment at the counseling center, visit counseling.studentaffairs.miami.edu/appointments or call 305-284-5511. The after-hours counseling center hotline (nights and weekends) can be reached at the same number.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 16, 2017

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.