We came across this article in a letter to incoming graduate student and are glad to re-post these great ideas from Renee Nicholas here at the blog.
You may be wondering what it could even look like to be healthy in this time when everything is changing. How can you keep a regular schedule of anything when you’re spending time in quarantine or the gym is shut down?Good news! We can all do little things that help us to be healthier, even for a few minutes a day. Spiritual rhythms
- Are you a morning person? Get up 15-20 minutes earlier than usual to make sure you have time to pray and spend time in Scripture.
- Maybe you’re a night owl and are more awake in the evening. Whatever time works for you, set it aside on your calendar to keep it as consistent as possible.
- Do you have a commute to campus or often walk to your lab? Use this time to pray for your friends, your family, your studies, and your campus. Maybe a friend is walking the same way and you could even pray together as you walk.
- Sleep – It’s hard, but do your best to get consistent sleep and around 7-8 hrs/night. Good sleep impacts your mood, your concentration, and likely will make you a better friend and roommate.
- Exercise – Whatever kind of movement you like to do, make time to do it. Maybe it’s going for a run a few times a week, dancing in your apartment, or taking a walk. I’ve started dancing in the kitchen with my 4 and 1 year old recently. We look silly, but we are exercising. Exercise can improve your mental health too!
- Eating heathy – Again, not easy, but please eat your vegetables! You will feel better overall and be able to sleep and think better too.
Emotional and Relational Rhythms
- It’s so easy to become isolated and focused on your work while in grad school, but God created us for community! You need time with friends and time in Christian community.
- Spending time outside and in nature can improve your mental health too.
- What is one activity that you really enjoy? Maybe it’s journaling, painting, writing poetry, or playing music. Pay attention to the things that are life-giving for you and make time for them. These are the things that refresh you.
- Prioritize your mental health and ask for help from a campus minister or the counseling center on campus if you find yourself consistently depressed or anxious. This is an important part of your health that God cares about.
We all need to be extra kind to ourselves these days. Taking care of our health is one way we can do that.
About the author:
Renee Nicholas is InterVarsity's National Director for Graduate Healthcare Ministries. She enjoys talking about healthy rhythms as she is also an RN, a spiritual director, and a runner. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two young sons.