As a predental student, there are many stressors that come our way. Balancing academics, volunteering, participating in club organizations and work are not only time consuming, but can be strenuous on our bodies as well. While juggling all of these responsibilities, it can be tough to find time to take care of yourself.
I struggled with this during my first couple years of college. After a long day of classes, volunteering and extracurricular activities, all I wanted to do was head back to my apartment and lie in bed. However, this usually was not an option because I would have an exam to study for or a project to complete. I crammed my day with responsibilities and did not prioritize or allocate much time to taking care of myself.
Over summer break, my roommates and I’d had enough. We decided to work on prioritizing ourselves again. With a lighter summer schedule, we spent time in our university’s recreational center to get our blood pumping. My friends helped keep me accountable, and I held them to the same standard.
As the new fall semester approached, however, this routine fell apart. Spending time getting in my car, driving to the gym, finding parking and finally entering the gym meant my 30-minute workout turned into hour or longer. I felt that my schedule could not afford this loss of time.
The second issue was losing my accountability and support system. My roommates and I all had different schedules, so I no longer had easy access to the friends who kept me motivated. I reverted to my old ways. I stopped prioritizing my health and wellness.
After a few months, I decided I needed to find a different way to make sure I was taking care of myself and exercising. Not having enough time and not having friends to work out with me were excuses I could not afford to keep making. To deal with the problem of not having an accessible gym, I took my workouts home with me and started running. I ran in the neighborhood where I lived and in parks nearby, and I’m now able to wake up, get dressed, step outside and begin my workout. I run for 15-30 minutes and then walk back to my apartment.
Running in my neighborhood makes a big impact on my life. I save an incredible amount of time in the day, and I am able to keep motivated since all I have to do is make that first step outside. I am prioritizing my wellness as a predental student, and my productivity, energy and overall mood have increased. By adding running to my schedule, I am more focused and awake during the day, and I get more schoolwork done since I start my day with a productive mindset.
Getting in a workout, no matter how big or small, can improve your attitude and ability to reach your goals. It doesn’t have to be running either! As predental students, either working or in college, you may not have access to a gym or recreational facility. You can still do something to take care of your body at home or in your neighborhood. Yoga, at-home workouts, jump-roping, meditation, playing with your dog or even a simple walk down the street are all great ways to focus on your well-being.
Now that we are nearing the end of ASDA’s Wellness Month, I challenge you to continue any simple steps you have taken to invest in your health and wellness. For the remainder of the year, take only a few minutes of your day to do something for you. Once you see the positive impact that simple changes can have on your life, there will be no turning back.
~Grace Ishak, University of Florida ’20, ASDA Predental Consultant