Staying Well Through Living Hell

By Guest Contributor

As we near the end of the semester, when assignments abound and professors squeeze in those last 250 pages of reading, it is as important as ever to operate with your well-being in mind. Eating well, exercising, sleeping and even having some fun will go a long way in how you appreciate the end of the year and your performance academically. Here are a few tips to keep you grounded as we enter this stressful time.

To start off, use your bed only for sleeping. It’s a hard rule to follow, but your body will start to recognize the space as one for sleeping. You’ll go to sleep more quickly and spend less time thinking about how you can’t sleep. Another way to improve your sleeping habits is by exercising. If you exercise during the day, you’ll sleep better at night. You’ll also feel better in what is inevitably a gloomy time of year. In the timeless words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their [computers].” Try and get outside — a walk through the organic garden can do wonders. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, head over to Snake Mountain for a hike! When the weather isn’t ideal, sneak in 30 minutes of cardio at the gym. It now opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays!

Be sure to also take more frequent and shorter breaks when you’re studying. Know how long you can hardcore study effectively (usually around 30-45 minutes) and take a quick five-minute break. After a couple hours, take a longer one. Try to mix up your breaks as well; if you’re reading, take a walk around the library for a break instead of reading an article on Thought Catalog. If you’re editing a video, jumping to YouTube may not be the break your brain needs. Go bug your friends — always a win — or get some pretzel M&Ms at the vending machine.

When you’re in the dining hall, let yourself relax a little. Eating is important, of course, but it’s also delicious and fun. Include some vitamin D (it’s not so sunny out here) and some protein in your Proctor creation and take some time to enjoy the view from Ross. You’ll get more work done when you’re in a positive state of mind. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t shy away from the resources available from your commons and the counseling center. It is a difficult time of year, and no one should go at it alone.

In a similar vein, we Middkids have to continue to support each other. We’re all in this bubble together, and we know what each of us is going through. Give that extra hug; save that piece of candy for your neighbor. And we all love the thesis and library fairies. When we’re all stressed out and at each other’s throats, we have to remember not to take ourselves too seriously.

With that in mind, I have some personal recommendations that always help me stay well. Miss Congeniality is great for any mood and any state. You know you looove it! Middkids would be remiss if they didn’t listen to Jim Dale read Harry Potter at least once. I mean, seriously, how perfect is Snape’s voice? Order Magic Wok to perfect a night in, and top it off with epic battle scenes from 300 or Two Towers. Clay therapy at the ceramics house is always called for, and, as an added bonus, you can make something for Mother’s Day! (May 12 is closer than it seems.)

And finally, remember what you love about Middlebury and lean forward into these next few weeks. Whether you’re graduating or just finishing your first semester, remember that we are and will always be a community that loves and supports one another.

Sierra Stites ’14 is from Kansas City, Mo.