I wrote a blog about bad habits some time ago and thought: “why not turn it around and write a blog about good habits?” I know, my creativity is wild. What is something I, as a student, want as a habit in my everyday life? So, I did some thinking, some asking and some googling about what habits students should or could have. And here are my top 5 good habits I wish to embrace.
So, to be completely honest, despite my best efforts, my bad habits have been extremely difficult to lose. Therefore, I proposed a hypothesis for myself: if I have enough good habits, will they then outweigh my bad habits?
Obviously, I haven’t been able to test this ‘hypothesis’ out in a lab, but I will say that, in my experience, adopting more good habits as a way of losing your bad habits is not too shabby an idea. Especially, if you, like me, have a rather weak self-discipline. In this blog I will list some good habits for students.
5 good student habits to adopt
I wanted the habits to be some that were connected to being a student. Daily habits for students that would make my life easier and more productive. So, what are 5 good habits for students?
#1 Reading before bed
I recently started reading again. And by that, I mean for my own sake and non-school related. It has been the best decision in a long time and let me tell you why. First and foremost, reading before bed instead of scrolling through social media is good for your sleep. This is largely due to the blue light from your phone which I discussed in the ‘bad habits blog’.
But reading before bed can help reduce stress which in turn helps you fall asleep faster! A study conducted by the University of Sussex showed that reading for just 6 minutes reduced stress by up to 68%, this was reflected in slower heart rates and less muscle tension – nice!
Furthermore, reading can make you both smarter and more creative. If you read non-fiction you obviously learn something, whether that be about self-care, leadership, or stocks. If you read fiction you are likely to become more empathic and creative. I can’t possibly fit all of the pros of reading in this blog post but the internet is full of blogs and articles which can give you more information on that. But, the key point for this habit to work, is that the book has to be interesting to you. Whether that be romance novels or rocket ship building 101!
#2 Setting boundaries
I have created a ‘no school/work boundary’. This tip is something I live by and have done so forever (almost). What does that mean you may be asking? It means that after 8.30 pm I do not look at anything school or work-related. Here it is important to know that not everyone is able to do so.
Some people may only have time to work in the evening whilst others may prefer it. Nevertheless, the point is that setting limits for when your brain is allowed to relax is important. The reason I have chosen to live by this habit is that:
a) I seriously cannot get my brain to function properly in the evening. After a long day of school, work, and being social I need to wind down and turn off my brain. Plus, I don’t want to do work or homework I won’t be proud of just because I felt like I had to.
And b) I am a happier and more energetic person when I get a couple of hours to take care of myself whether that be eating ice cream and watching Netflix or online shopping with a great playlist on the speakers!
It’s important for me to say that sometimes this rule needs to be bent. Having a deadline at work or at school obviously means that you have to finish it – and I have done that several times, but the point remains the same: If it is not crucial, don’t stress yourself out because of it!
#3 Eat healthily and regularly
I severely underestimated the cooking part of living on your own… I miss my mum’s and dad’s cooking. Unfortunately, this has resulted in me not having a good eating routine, and I know I’m not the only one. Between school, work, and social gatherings there is little time to make actual, nutritious food. I often end up having breakfast for dinner or snacking throughout the day – does coffee count as a meal?
To keep your body and mind in balance, eating healthy and regularly is key. For me, that entails sitting down once a week and creating a food plan. Here you can look out for offers at grocery stores (most of them have a weekly paper with their offers) and create meals based on that. Then you can also coordinate your groceries so that all of them are used and don’t go to waste. This way you save money and eat good food! A little life hack for people who can read Danish: Sund på Budget is a website that creates food plans based on the offers in grocery stores. Someone has actually done the work for you – win!
#4 Fresh air and workout
You knew this point would come, didn’t you? You can’t talk about good habits without mentioning fresh air and working out. In our blog post writer’s block and how to overcome it, I wrote about the benefits of working out and how that improves creativity and boosts energy. Nevertheless, for some, working out is a hassle time-wise whilst for others, it isn’t really a possibility maybe because of chronic pain. Therefore, going for a walk or a bike ride out in the fresh air can be a good alternative or supplement.
There are several health benefits of fresh air. Oxygen helps your brain work and can provide clarity. Fresh air also boosts serotonin which is linked to better sleep patterns and happiness!
#5 Your mental health as a student is important
Always. Put. Your. Mental. Health. First! I can’t stress this enough. Mental health among students is amongst first priority. If you at any point feel like you may be more stressed than necessary or more depressed than your peers, you should see someone. I will time and time again recommends The Student Counselling Service. They are free whilst you study and both provide individual talks and group sessions.
If you think you need more help you can go see your doctor. They can refer you to free therapy if you’re under 25. If school is getting stressful, ask your boss to have fewer hours that week. Or be honest with your friends and cancel plans. All of it is perfectly alright, and the faster you realize you might need to slow down the faster you may feel better and recover.
I hope you got inspired to work on some good habits. Maybe you already practice some of them or you can add some to your daily routine. Good habits vary from person to person – so as long as you feel good and healthy, then you’re doing great. Go to our student life blog section to find more good student life tips.