Ah, I know it well. The dreaded post-Mardi Gras slump when it all begins to come back into focus: readings, papers, midterm exams, obligations. How is it that just a few days ago our lives seemed suspended in a wonderland of beads and cake, and now I’m supposed to give a presentation on the impact of climate change on archaeological digs in Greenland for my Anthro class? Ugh. Well folks, chin up. Because what we’ve got here is an Après Carnival Boot Camp to kick start yourself into a healthy and productive spring!
I love this term for its simplicity and global applicability. Self-care is essential for all of us, and nothing is more important when it comes to gearing up for that grueling Spring semester than doing just that – taking care of yourself. Easier said than done, perhaps, when you’ve got class, homework, job work, a social life, that meeting with your Lit professor you’ve already canceled twice…But carving out time, even once a week, to do something just for you can work wonders on your stress levels. So catch a movie, read a book for fun (yes, people still do that), take a nap, knit some socks, whatever. If it brings you happiness, it’s important to allow yourself the time to enjoy it.
It’s easy after a long break to get a little lazy about the everyday, but making sure you eat regularly, exercise, and sleep can make a big difference. Eating well is crucial: a 5-Hour Energy and a Nutri-Grain Bar isn’t going to cut it for a full day of class and homework. Explore the healthy options in the Orleans Dining Room, Smoothie King, La Davina, or over at Tulane’s LBC. Balance your food groups and utilize what you’re eating for optimal energy and your body.
Speaking of your body – jump back into that fitness regimen, or start a new one (it’s Lent)! I know I know, “But I walked allll the way from Napoleon to Jackson Square like every DAY over Mardi Gras” – and that’s great! But your body and your brain both need an outlet for the everyday pressures of being a student. The Rec Plex is right there, and Punxsutawney Phil missed his shadow so we should be seeing some beautiful spring days to run in Audubon Park. Take advantage and try to get in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If you’ve consistently taken care of yourself, you’ll be thankful come exam time.
As a graduate student, I understand better than most that your nightly eight hour meeting with your pillow can often devolve into a forty five minute affair with one of those way-too-comfortable-for-school-work couches in the library. But sleep is an integral part of developing a healthy routine for yourself, especially after Mardi Gras. Make it a priority to get enough shut-eye that you wake up feeling ready to start the day. Hitting snooze a couple times is fine, but if you’re consistently having trouble getting out of bed it may be time to call it quits earlier the day before.
Manage Your Time
It may seem too early to be thinking about May, but the semester can fly by and you don’t want to be caught off guard for finals. Now that you don’t have 10 AM parades to attend, use weekends and days off to get ahead. Make a realistic schedule for yourself, and stick to it. Knocking out the bibliography for that paper due in March or typing up notes as you go for a study guide you’ll use later on will free you up later during crunch-time. Crossing off a few things every day can ease your mind and allow more time to decompress once things get crazy.
More To Come!
Springtime in New Orleans is an experience, whether it’s your first, your last, or somewhere in between. So, don’t be too devastated that Mardi Gras is over – because we’ve got everything from Jazz Fest to Strawberry Fest coming our way. Get excited!
- Emma Cate Pegues, MSW Candidate