A routine is beneficial for the well-being because it brings a reassuring environment. It helps for organizing and managing busy days. In an academic environment where energy and attention are focused on courses, exercises sessions and the work to be provided, it is beneficial to repeat habits in everyday life so that they become automatic. Having a routine is a foundation you can use to structure your days.
Define your intentions
For what purpose do you need a routine? What do you want to improve?
Suggestions for establishing a routine
- Wake up at the same time every day so that your mind and body can get into a regular cycle. Get into a rhythm!
- Take a deep breath, air your room for getting your blood flowing
- Make time for a healthy breakfast. Your body and your brain need energy in the morning to get started and kick off a productive day.
- Eat well-balanced meals at regular times. When you need a snack, pick something healthy like fruit, nuts or dark chocolate.
- Take meal breaks without any distractions (social media or messages, for example) in order to take some time for yourself and recharge your batteries for the afternoon.
- Turn off/reduce the amount of time you spend on your screens (smartphone, tablet or computer) one to two hours before going to bed in order to reduce the effects of artificial light (or blue light) on your biological clock and enable for the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Go to bed at the same time every night so that your body learns when it’s time to slow down, unwind and prepare for a good and rejuvenating night’s sleep.
- Read a book or comic, or listen to calm music, to help you get to sleep.
- Did you know… that your brain is still active even when you sleep? The brain uses that time to sort through the information received during the day and consolidate it in the memory.
Why not taking ten minutes to relax and breathe deeply? That will help release tension, loosen tight muscles, slow your heartbeat, clear your mind (your brain will thank you!) and bring calmness. You can do this several times throughout the day or anytime you feel the need. YouTube has an array of videos on stress management and relaxation topics. Spend a few minutes browsing through them to find the one that’s right for you. There are also many apps available (on iPhone and Android) to help. Most of them are free, and some include a subscription option. Ones you might want to try are Respirelax+ (cardiac coherence), Petit Bambou (which has a section specifically for students), Namasté, Calm and Headspace.
Taking a two-hour class online is tiring enough, and when you have several throughout the day, it can be exhausting. So it’s important to take a real break after each class – go for a walk, have a cup of coffee, or do some stretching or light exercise, for example (interview with Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg on heidi.news, 22 October 2020, in French)
Maintaining a routine and studying effectively – now that’s a winning combination! Check out the MOOC on study methods for science and engineering students (in French).