By: Sam Werger, 4th Year History Student
Many of us make New Years Resolutions on January 1st or during the first week of class. We try to set attainable goals for ourselves which are usually aimed at general self-improvement. The ARC tends to be the busiest in January and the produce section at Grocery Checkout is constantly being depleted by hoards of students who have resolved to eat more leafy greens this semester. Many resolutions revolve around health and this is for good reason. As we all know, one’s health is the most important thing. Everything else is rooted in health, including academic success. Maintaining one’s mental and physical health are central to achieving academic success at school.
Physical health is probably the first thing we think of when we hear “health”. Certainly, physical health is greatly important and must never be neglected. First, as we all learn during Frosh Week, you gotta get your 150! Queen’s recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week to maintain a healthy body. This can be as simple as taking a walk around our lovely campus once a day. For those of us who would rather stay inside during these slushy winter months, why not use your free ARC membership? Is the gym not your thing? There are plenty of ways to get some exercise at the ARC other than the weightlifting rooms. Beautiful basketball and squash courts are available for recreational use as well as our lovely swimming pool. All exercise is good exercise. Remember that your brain is part of your body and a healthy body is the first step to a healthy brain.
Exercise is not the only aspect to maintaining one’s health. It is also important to eat well. That means lots of delicious fruits and veggies as well as whole grains and good proteins. Vegetables can be boring but they absolutely do not have to be! We’re lucky to live in an age where millions of recipes are right at our fingertips. Plenty of websites have hundreds of vegetable recipes that are sure to kick your broccoli game up a notch or two. Good food gives you the mental and physical energy you need throughout the day to achieve your goals. Junk food will leave you feeling sluggish mentally and physically. The things you put into your body can have a surprising effect on how mentally alert and focussed you feel.
Diet and exercise are integral to one’s physical health but there is another kind of health that often gets forgotten and that is Mental Health. Our psychological and emotional well-being is a main factor in our ability to cope with the normal stresses of life. At university this stress can be related to due dates, social anxiety, and thoughts about our future. All of these things can contribute to stress and it is important that we are able to handle this stress in a productive manner. If ever you feel that you cannot cope with this stress, do not hesitate to reach out to the professional services we have here at Queen’s. There are people that want to help you be your best self.
All these aspects of health contribute to academic success at university. It is an unfortunate myth that I sometimes hear being spread that the only way to succeed at university is by confining yourself to your studies all the time. Balance, as in all things in life, is necessary for achieving academic success. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and a healthy mind leads to academic success. Your health is the most important thing you have and it must not be neglected.