Avoid midterm stress by setting good habits this week

Take advantage of easy week to practice self-care, time management, exercise habits



College students are notorious for struggling with taking care of themselves, but meditating and establishing a routine can help.

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

Physical and mental health take maintenance, and too often college students wait for an emergency to take care of themselves. All of us need exercise, rest and medical attention to stay happy and healthy — before we start to suffer.

People say prevention is the best form of medicine. If you’re hoping to manage stress and maintain your health through the semester, why wait until you’re panicking or sick? Why wait until your workload is at a peak?

This year’s syllabus week presents a fantastic opportunity to set your wellness habits while you have time to focus on them.

Take a free class at the Rec

The best way to ensure you will make time to exercise on your busiest days is to get used to the routine when you aren’t busy.

During syllabus week, the Student Recreation Center offers a variety of free classes. You can swim, paddleboard on the Snake River, practice yoga and rock climb this week for no cost.

(If you want to read more about it, see “Outdoor Festival extends free classes to all week” on page 4.)

If you don’t want to make time for a class but you want to do something for your body, try an easy yoga pose.

Colin Krikac, a certified yoga instructor at Pullman’s Sanctuary yoga studio, suggests what he said was the “Legs Up the Wall” pose.

To reap the benefits of this pose, simply lie on your back near a wall or closet door and put both legs straight against the wall. Hold for about two minutes, or however long feels good.

“If you’re only going to do one yoga pose in a day, do Legs Up the Wall,” Krikac said at a Yin yoga class this week. “It allows blood and lymphatic fluid stagnating in your lower body to flow into your torso, where your organs can process it.”

Set a reminder to meditate

With busy schedules, sleep deprivation and quick meals being staples of college life, one simple thing you can do to take care of yourself is meditation.

WSU student and certified personal trainer Evelyn Bond says meditation is a workout of its own kind.

“Being healthy is more than just working up a sweat or building muscle,” Bond said. “Being healthy is having the ability to handle stress effectively.”

Meditating can focus your mind, relax your muscles and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to start the healing process.

Set a reminder on your phone for every day, during a time when you usually have a few minutes to spare. In the morning, before bed or right when you get home from class, you can replace some social media scrolling with mindful breathing.

Krikac says five minutes of meditation is a great place to start.

“Starting off each day with even five minutes of breath work or contemplation provides the tools to get through stress,” Krikac said.

If you miss a meditation today, you’ll still get the reminder tomorrow. For lots of options, free apps like Insight Timer and Simple Habit offer thousands of free guided meditations without ad interruption.

Get a check up

Familiarizing yourself with your local doctor and other care providers can take some effort. While you have time to spare this week, call your doctor to make an appointment for a check-up.

Not only will you be sure of your health status after a check-up, you’ll also be better prepared for future visits.

Locating the building and acquainting yourself with your care provider will make future visits easier. So will filling out any paperwork that will only be required during your first visit. You’ll thank yourself when you’re in a time crunch or experiencing pain.

While you’re at it, now is a great time to search for local chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists or other specialists you may want to contact in the future. Setting up appointments as an established client is often much easier.

Talk to a counselor

Cougar Health Services offer walk-in counseling services Monday through Friday.

Counselors can give you tools to protect your mental health throughout the semester. This can be a great way to nip depression or anxiety in the bud.

While you can test yourself at no cost for depression, anxiety and other mental ailments on websites like Psychology Today, Cougar Health Services offer a trustworthy online mental health screening as a check-up for your mind. It is anonymous, and only takes a few minutes.

Enjoying your semester will be easy, especially if you give your future self a gift in the form of a little self-care this week.