Dr. Michelle BurcinMichelle Burcin

Guest post by Michelle Burcin, PhD

Achieving wellness isn’t easy, and as a student it can be even more challenging. I held a full-time job while I worked on my PhD, and even though I was studying public health and knew the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles, I had to consciously make wellness and a healthy balance a priority.

Finding the balance that allows you to maintain your academics and sustain a healthy lifestyle requires you to plan and make your priorities known to loved ones. Here are tips to help you find that balance:

Create a routine and stick to it. Schedule “school time” each day so you don’t ever feel behind or pressured to rush an assignment. Your schedule will also help your friends and family know when you are available so that you aren’t constantly interrupted.

Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Staying hydrated helps ward off mindless eating, headaches, fatigue, and many other health ailments. I personally like flavored water, so my water bottle has a place for fruit slices. I have found drinking flavored water keeps me from reaching for that not-so-healthy afternoon snack.

Schedule exercise into your day. Consider doing your school reading on a treadmill or stationary bike. It’s also good to schedule work outs as downtime to allow you to collect your thoughts while wholly focusing on something else—you. Not only is exercise good for physical strength, it also offers excellent mental benefits.

Plan ahead for meals and always eat breakfast. This will help you maintain variety in your diet and protect your “school time” and “me time.” I like to plan our family dinners on Sunday afternoon. This allows me to make fewer stops at the grocery store and helps me maintain a healthy variety within our diets.

Get outside. It’s amazing what sunshine and fresh air will do! Remember, you can always combine your school work with some time outside. I personally love to work at a local park or sit outside at a coffeehouse. I feel good because I am getting work done while also enjoying the beautiful weather.

Learn to say “no” and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learning to say no will help you find that healthy school-work-life balance your body craves. Walden has an array of resources. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from the Writing Center, Academic Skills Center, or your faculty. Remember that your family and friends are there to help you find that balance.

Dr. Michelle Burcin, the program director of undergraduate health programs in the School of Health Sciences, recently received the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence, which honors a faculty member who demonstrates unmatched dedication to the university, its mission, and its vision and exemplifies the Walden educator’s role in empowering students to advance positive social change in their communities.

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