I must confess, I am a devoted gym-xerciser. I need regular gym sessions to be my happy self, to battle dark thoughts and get an immediate energy boost. I just love the feeling of having completed a strenuous workout session. It is even scientifically proven that exercise can release endorphins in your brain, which trigger an uber-happy feeling.
During my masters, I had such a busy schedule that I stopped going to the gym altogether. I couldn’t find the time to squeeze in a session or go for a simple run as I was working on projects “24/7”– or at least it felt like that. I got more and more tensed and unproductive, probably because I lacked a stress outlet.
Towards the end of the second semester, I had not only gained 5kg, but after having a little cry – in class, cringe, I know – a blood vessel in my left eye ruptured and I looked like a zombie for the next four weeks. I still suffer from headaches that start behind the left eye. In fact, I am feeling the piercing pain this very second.
Looking back, I am surprised how much uni work got the better of me. I now see that because I cut out my weekly stress relief and feel good sessions, I didn’t have an outlet for the building up tension. The more stressed I got, the less productive I was, which left me feeling even more stressed and anxious and all the more convinced I didn’t have time for anything else than studying. A vicious circle really.
With exams, thesis, work and a busy social schedule lined up, you can easily slip into an unhealthy lifestyle routine. Microwave food, caffeine overdoses and a lack of sleep and exercise are the daily reality for many students.
Let my zombie eye experience be a little warning to you. Don’t forget what your body and mind really need to function properly. No matter how much work you have on your plate, in fact especially then, make sure to give yourself a break once in a while. If you know that exercise or anything else helps you to stay sane and clear-eyed for that matter, make sure to treat yourself to it regularly.
In the long-term, you will be more productive, have more energy and catch up the time easily you spent recharging your batteries.
Plus, besides from being the perfect stress relief and energizer, exercising will help you to get back into shape for the summer.
So, if your feeling tensed about your final project, get your running shoes on and run it off. Your mind – and maybe even your eyes – will thank you for it.