Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle Around Exams

Students writing notes in class There’s no doubt about it, college life will have its challenges. While there is the fun and excitement of becoming independent and experiencing a new lifestyle, once the ‘newness’ of it all wears down, students are then faced with the reality that is college life. This means meeting deadlines and lots of studying and juggling an exceptional amount of work. In other words, playtime is over. It’s time to get to work!

It is almost guaranteed that every course syllabus will require students to complete an abundant amount of work in a short period of time. This amount of responsibility can bring a decent amount of stress on any student.

It is important to remember that an overwhelming syllabus paired with demanding deadlines is quite normal for college students. Then there is the stress of passing exams that make or break a grade. Yet and still, students can have a healthy college life if they organize themselves.

Here are a few ways students can balance a healthy lifestyle around exam time.

Create a schedule

Whether one is taking three credits or 12, it is always smart to create a schedule to better organize one’s tasks and responsibilities. Even as a full-time student, priorities outside of college can and will take front and center, sometimes at the worst moments. Granted, some things cannot be planned for, but at least with an existing schedule, one can be better prepared to adjust his/her priorities accordingly verses someone who didn’t have any structure in his/her workday to begin with.

Creating a schedule is certainly simpler to do now! One can go to his/her local bookstore, pharmacy, grocery, or superstore and find an organizer-calendar to balance his/her class, study, and personal life. These days, calendar apps can be found in smartphones, not to mention email accounts.


A task like this ought to be second nature. Yet, once students begin to take on the tasks and responsibilities that college life has, especially around exam time, it is a step that is often skipped.

Making sure that one eats a balanced diet is crucial to one’s studying habits. According to Evelyn Tribole, author of Eating on the Run, the three main consequences of not eating brings about a poor performance, brain drain, and calorie loading. Ironically, these three effects tend to cause a repeated loop of the same three consequences aforementioned.

  1. So how does one escape this slothful loop?
  2. Eat healthy and stay active!
  3. But how can a student do this when he or she has to study for 3 exams in one week?
  4. By maintaining a balanced lifestyle. It is not only important to eat but to design a schedule that will give students a break from the monotonous of study and research.

Stay Hydrated

The amount of water in a human body can range from 50-75%. Ideally, everyone is ranging in the higher percentage range. However, that is not always the case.

The importance of staying hydrated is a matter of life and death. Dehydration has been known to cause blood clots, seizures, and other fatal ramifications. Of course, this is more of the extreme consequences, yet they are still worth mentioning.

Water is not everyone’s favorite beverage. Therefore, many skip it not knowing that like food, it is fuel for the body. Like it or not, everyone needs water to survive. Lack of water can result in the following and have negative effects on study habits:

  • Headaches – The brain is encased in a fluid sack that keeps it from bumping against the skull. When the fluid runs low, headaches can occur.
  • Muscle Cramps – Michael Bergeron, Executive Director of the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, muscle cramps occurs when the muscles in the body aren’t surrounded with enough water and sodium. As a result, the muscles become hypersensitive, involuntarily contracting and undergoing spasms.
  • Bad Breath – Believe it or not, the human mouth is self-cleaning thanks to the use of saliva. However, when one is lacking a certain amount of body water, the amount of saliva is reduced causing bacteria overgrowth that leads to bad breath. So to avoid bad breath, a mint or gum isn’t always the preventative solution. Drink water!
  • Fever/Chills – The causes of a fever is usually from fighting off some type of bacteria or infection in the body, so what does this have to do with dehydration?

Dr. Juline Bryson, a neurologist with the Headache Institute at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan explains that a headache is simply the body’s alarm system warning that its equilibrium is off. Again, sometimes the cure or prevention of a fever is just a simple glass of water!

  • Food Cravings—for the wrong thing! – Dr. John Higgins, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas in Houston, and chief of cardiology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital reportedly explained that it is not uncommon for a dehydrated body to want sweet or salty foods due to the lack of glycogen that a lack of water can bring about.

Be Active

Balancing a healthy lifestyle around exam time takes more than just eating and drinking. Being active has been known to reduce stress and generally make one feel better mentally. One doesn’t need to be athletic in order to be active. Taking time out of the day for a 20-30 minute walk or any cardiovascular activity like jogging, playing tennis, swimming, etc. are helpful activities that can alleviate the amount of stress exam time can bring about.

FNU: Looking Out for Your Well Being

Here at Florida National University (FNU) we care about our students. We understand that the overall health and well being of each student affects his/her academic performance. We strive to help students practice and maintain the best studying skills.

There is much to learn about starting a college career and FNU is ready to teach you! All you have to do is start the enrollment process. Contact a FNU counselor to begin the enrollment process to secure your education and improve your future.