Ah, college and routine…you probably thought that these words could never be put together. Everyone operates differently, but that does not mean that routines only apply to a particular demographic. Routines create positive results for everyone regardless of their stage in life, which is why it’s essential to have one. For college students, I’ve found that there are just five steps that could help make a routine possible.

Prioritizing

When life is insanely busy, and you feel like you are never going to get a breath, setting time aside to prioritize activities will help with stress. From classes to jobs, there is plenty to do, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up unassumingly with what we enjoy doing and not what should be getting done. This particular type of discipline can increase your chance of a routine!

Eating Well

Although it sounds cliché, taking this to heart can seriously change your life. It’s all about balance. Junk food can be a student’s best friend for a variety of reasons such as the fact that it’s cheaper, tastes better, and could just be a particular craving. Although it’s not terrible to indulge in some chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A, including lighter and healthier meals frequently creates poise and helps establish some consistency. How? Limiting yourself during the week by choosing fruits and vegetables as alternatives to snack on during the day will make you feel less hungry. Additionally, your body will be getting the proper nutrients to sustain your energy. Heavy foods require much more energy for the body to digest, according to livestrong.com. This explains why that nap after Thanksgiving dinner happens every year…not the myth that chemicals in turkey makes you sleepy.    

Going to Sleep Means Waking Up Earlier

Take a journey down memory lane for a minute. Remember when you had a bedtime? As a child, it was probably difficult to understand why your parents forced you to shut off the lights at that early, dreaded hour of 8 p.m. However, as a college student now, you probably have a sense of why that was a rule. A bedtime teaches a child that what you can offer during the day depends on the rest you get at night. When tests and assignments pile up, it seems like they receive priority over sleep. But what if it was the other way around? In retrospect, was it really worth it to pull two all-nighters in one week? The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says that sleep deprivation has the potential to increase depression and anxiety. Getting enough sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle and is not something that should be ignored. It is better sometimes to receive a “B” on your paper because you got eight full hours of sleep as opposed to receiving an “A” with the result of fatigue.

Marking Your Calendar, Literally

After doing this, you will never go back. Looking at what you have planned for your day comes with a two-fold punch to eliminating chaos. First, it creates a sense of confidence in your ability to handle everything on your plate. As it can be similar to a to-do list, seeing events listed out — even if it is repetitive — gives you a glimpse of your schedule in its entirety and allows you to tackle it one step at a time. Second, forgetting things will be a thing of the past. Now that you have something physical to refer to, it is easier to create a routine. Whether it’s written out in a planner or entered on your phone, having a personal calendar is one key to success!  

Socializing

After all, college is a time where memories are one of a kind. Stories that we will love to tell our children years down the road will be witnessed. Although it’s important to recognize that education is critical, the experiences that we will live to tell come from the times we’ve had with our friends and family. In the midst of the crazy challenges that college can bring, making time to be social is extremely vital to keeping yourself sane. Planning this time will make life much less daunting and more enjoyable.  

Taking these elements  into consideration can establish some consistency to the crazy schedule that college brings us and can also bring about a sense of grounding should unexpected circumstances occur. Finding a way to balance everything that life can offer can be a challenge but prioritizing, eating healthy, getting ample sleep, utilizing calendars and socializing are steps to get there. Although routines may seem difficult to establish, the results will most likely be positive in the long run.