This week’s featured photo is of Blairsville, Georgia. Blairsville is a nature lover’s paradise as it located in the “Chattahoochee National Forest and North Georgia Blue Ridge mountains” (https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/georgia/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-georgia/). As someone who loves being outdoors, I am looking forward to visiting this beautiful town that is as steeped in culture and history as it is in natural beauty.
Full Body Test Prep Overview
Everyone knows that in order to prepare for a test you study, but not everyone is aware that in order to perform your best you need to take care of your ENTIRE body. It makes sense, think about an injury to a part of your body that you use every day, like your leg. If you broke your leg, it would be much harder for you to do the daily tasks you need to do every day to function, like shower, cook, or drive. This would also probably stress you out (for tips on stress relief you can view my last blog post on stress management by clicking here) and would undoubtedly affect other areas of your life such as work and school. When you think about an injury to your leg it becomes obvious that our bodies are interconnected and that the health of the one part or system in our bodies directly impacts the health of other parts and systems.
I’ve got news for you, you should be thinking about your body’s reaction to testing the SAME way. If you don’t remember to care for your body, the part of your body that you are using to take your test (your brain) could suffer. SAY WHAT?? Yup, that’s right if you don’t make sure to treat your body like the temple it is all of the hours spent studying and the time spent toiling through your courses may end up being a waste because you may never reach your full potential. Read below to find out how to prepare your ENTIRE body for a successful test-taking session.
Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat
The key to making sure you are operating at peak performance when you take a test is simple and only entails making sure you are doing the things you are probably already doing before you test. Making sure to eat the correct types of foods, being active, and getting enough sleep are the three pieces to the test well puzzle. Below you can find more information on each.
- Eat: Eating the Correct types of foods: In order to be able to focus on your test you need to make sure you are not hungry. The best way to ensure your tummy doesn’t start rumbling in the middle of your milestone, distracting you from answering a test question is to eat foods that will fill you up. You don’t need to eat a five-course meal before your test to make this happen, and in fact eating too much or eating the wrong type of food can even make you feel sleepy and lazy instead of energized and focused. Instead of eating a lot of random and nutrient deficient food on the morning of your test, focus on eating foods that are full of protein as these foods will keep you full and keep you from pondering about your post test meal during the middle of an essay question. Eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, peanut butter and certain types of greek yogurt will all fuel you with the necessary protein needed to remain full during a long test session. For simple breakfast ideas that are high in protein visit the site below
- Move: Move it or Lose It: Movement does wonders for our bodies. Moving around helps get our blood flowing and improves circulation which can help us feel more awake. In addition, anytime you move and sweat, endorphins are released. Endorphins are chemicals that make us happy 🙂 Moving around before taking your test and, if you are given a break during your test you are testing, is of the utmost importance. Even something as simple as a quick stretch or some breathing can go a long way to help you stay more alert and more focused. For some easy breathing techniques that you can do anywhere, visit the following site: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/relaxation_techniques_breath_focus
- Sleep: The uninterrupted kind– Sleep is one of the most valuable gifts that you can give to your body. Even when people are trying to lose weight and are doing everything right such as exercising and eating a nutritious diet, without enough sleep their efforts will have been for naught. It helps me to think about sleep the same way I think about my cell phone. All day long my cell phone works hard running my apps and receiving text messages and notifications. At the end of the day, my cell phone is drained and needs to be charged. Our bodies are JUST like cell phones in that they work hard to keep us functioning at work, school, and even at home. At the end of the day we need to recharge our batteries and the only way to do that is to get sleep. And to get enough of it that our bodies can go into recovery mode. While the amount of sleep required in order to function at peak performance is something that is always under review, most doctors will tell you to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep. However, the amount of time you sleep is not the only thing that is important when it comes to sleeping. It turns out that your sleep environment is super important too. I visited the National Sleep Foundation website in order to learn more about the best environment to drift off to sleep in. Here is what I found:
- Your room shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. It turns out that “most sleep experts recommend a temperature of 65 degrees for the best sleep.”
- Turning off or putting away your tv, phone, tablet, computer, etc at least an hour before can actually help you sleep better. Both noise and light can disrupt your sleep so to alleviate anything that may disrupt your z’s by keeping these devices away from you, out of the bedroom, and completely shut off!
- Washing your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week and breathing in that “fresh sheet” smell can help you sleep better. There’s an excuse for students to learn how to do laundry nice and early, you’re welcome parents (sorry students, but facts are facts). 🙂
- If you have to eat, have a small snack the hours leading up to bedtime. A larger meal may provide extra energy to your body that prevents you from sleeping.
- For more information on sleep tips visit: https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/index.php
The Night Before
The night before your test make sure you get a chance to get some moderate exercise in. You can go for a walk, ride your bike, anything to get the blood pumping. Have a nice dinner, but try to avoid overloading on carbohydrates (carbs) as this may make you sluggish tomorrow. Get to bed early and keep your electronics off and out of the bedroom. Making these few simple sacrifices the night before your test will help prepare your mindset for the mental exertion that will take place tomorrow.
The Day Of
Wake up early enough to eat a protein fueled breakfast. Remember, it doesn’t need to be a four-course meal fit for royalty. Instead, focus on foods like eggs or greek yogurt that are full of protein and will keep you full. Give yourself enough time to shower, eat, and still have time to do some stretching and breathing exercises to focus your mind on the task at hand. You can even write yourself an affirmation and repeat it before your test about what you wish to accomplish during your test :). If you get a break during your test, make sure to get up and stretch. This will help you relieve any stress you may have incurred from wracking your brain and get the blood circulating so you can power through the rest of your test.
The Bottom Line-Everything is Connected
One of the things that struck me the most when I ventured off to college was how interconnected my classes were. I was reading books in English class while I was studying those periods of history in my history courses. I was learning about why people act the way they do in my psychology classes and figuring out the different responses to stress in my science classes. Thinking about things as they relate to one another really helped drive my learning and is something that has stuck with me ever since. Similarly, if we view our bodies as a whole and understand that in order to test effectively we must take care of the singular parts of our bodies then it becomes easier to see why full body preparation before taking a test is so important. Think of your body as a machine that needs all of its parts taken care of and maintained, remember to eat, move and sleep and you’ll be ready to conquer any test.
Next Week’s Post: Planning for the end of this semester and the beginning of Fall semester. I hope to have some awesome guest writers contribute some content, until then best of luck on your milestone tests!
Featured Photo- https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/georgia/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-georgia/
Healthy Eating- http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/high-protein-breakfast-ideas/
Breathing Techniques- http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/relaxation_techniques_breath_focus
Sleep Tips- https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/index.php