by Corrianne Cain
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! NOT. We have to face those awful exams before the joy of Christmas can cheer us up. Unfortunately, dead week and finals week combine to make a stressful time, causing illness to spread across campus. However, do not fear. There are measures we all can (and should) take to avoid getting ourselves and those around us sick. Director of Health Services Andreea Baker provided many important tips in an email interview for all of us to remember during this lovely time of year.
- SLEEP: Though you may be tempted to stay up all night and cram for the big tests, this may not do as much good as hitting the pillow a little bit earlier than usual. “For college students, you should really be getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night,” Baker said. Baker also advises that students should not study or use their phones or computers in bed.
- Eat well and drink more: A well-rested body also needs to refuel with energy. Baker recommends 64 ounces of water per day, along with a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. A healthy balance of fats and proteins is also crucial for brain power during those difficult exams.
- Wash those hands: Your kindergarten teacher told you, and Baker now stresses that one of the biggest factors in preventing illness is washing your hands. This simple practice goes a long way in protecting you from what is going around on campus.
- Time out: While you’re busy cramming all of that amazing knowledge, keep in mind that your body and mind need a break from the strenuous activity of studying. Balance studying by taking occasional breaks. Concordia has many resources for students to relax and recharge. “There are coloring books, play-doh (and) puzzles in (the) health center…if students need a place to relax for a few minutes,” Baker said. CBC will also be offering music and art therapy during dead week. Some other suggestions: take a coffee break at 10:31 Coffee, sit by the fire and chat with a friend, relieve stress by working out in Walz Health and Human Performance Center or get some fresh air and walk around campus and the Seward community.
- Use your resources: Concordia’s health center offers various services for students, available even beyond finals week. The health center operates weekdays 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., treating many minor yet common illnesses. So, if tips one through four fail you and you end up getting sick, the health center will be open and provide you with care and resources to get well. “If you need over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen, we provide those to students…at no cost,” Baker said.
- Be positive: You’ve worked hard all semester, you’re capable and God’s plan for you will be fulfilled regardless of an exam score. Work hard, but not too hard. Better things (like your home and your family and Christmas cookies and lights and Jesus’s birthday) lie ahead. Reaffirm yourself with such positivity to avoid over-stressing and becoming sick.