I was a university student not that long ago. While I wasn’t trying to meet my educational goals in the midst of a pandemic, I had challenges of my own. I returned to school while wearing multiple hats-wife, mother, full-time job, pastoral wife, and lead project coordinator for a community program. May I share with you how I managed my responsibilities and stayed relatively healthy in the process? Here are a few key points and a brief explanation of how I dealt with these is my life.
- Decide on and stay focused on your purpose in life. My educational goal and other roles were true to who I was. I prioritized what needed my attention and intentionally worked this through each day. I spent my time and attention on what was most important in my life, thereby reducing my stressors.
- Stay true to your faith system. As a believer, I chose to make Christ first in my life and start my day with Him, every day. The time spent in devotions, building my relationship with God, and reading His text messages (promises) developed my trust in His goodness and my ability to function optimally.
- Care about yourself. There are many ways to do this that promote health and boost your immune system. If you are not doing the following, start by adding one healthier habit at a time. As you are able, add another action and settle in to enjoy the benefits of well-being.
- Get adequate rest. This includes 7-8 hours of sleep at night and one day a week setting aside your usual activities. Take a break from the internet, spend time with God and friends, and get some fresh air and sunshine when you can.
- Eat nutritiously. A primarily plant-based diet, with a colorful rainbow of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes will best support your body to function well, heal, and fight potential infection. Avoid or limit sweets, processed food that’s found in crinkly-colorful packages, and sweetened beverages.
- Water Inside and Out. Stay hydrated with clean water intake. Stay clean and refreshed with clean soap and water on the outside (hot and cold showers are a valid treatment for boosting your immune system). Sing the ABCs or the B-I-B-L-E song while washing your hands often and thoroughly to reduce transmission of germs to yourself and others.
- Participate in regular, invigorating physical activity. Ideally choose an activity you enjoy and do “it” for 30-60 minutes daily, most days of the week. This can be done in one setting or in small amounts throughout the day. Be willing to try something you haven’t done before. I like to disc golf with one of my favorite people and wish the weather would cooperate better in the winter and hot summer!
- Stay socially connected with those who love and support you. Loneliness and isolation are real, and the side effects do not lend to wellness. Take time everyday to enjoy your friendships and enhance the relationships that matter the most to you.
- Do what you can to support your fellow human beings. According to Isaiah 58: 7-9, life will go better for us when we seek to be a practical benefit to others. We are further encouraged in Proverbs 3:27 to not withhold good from others, when it is within our power to do so. Even actions that seem inconsequential can be uplifting to others: sharing a smile, texting an inspirational message, or giving them a hand with something they are struggling with.
Many things could be shared to help you be healthier and yet the list could be overwhelming and raise your guilt quotient. I’d rather stay on the positive, such as Philippians 4 suggests. Make sure you take some time each day to input things that are uplifting. SWAU’s associate chaplain, April Snyder, suggests a custom-made praise song playlist. Keene SDA Church’s young adult pastor, Michael Gibson, suggests that we take Isaiah 26:3 & 4 to heart by fixing our sights on Jesus and revel in the peace and wellness that He provides.
Cheers to you as you take action to succeed at school and be healthy while doing so. Graduation day will come! Thank you for your time.