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Kale and Kravings: Five mindfulness tips to support you through the last weeks of school

Being mindful is about focusing on the goodness, the peace and the love in your life

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Kale and Kravings: Five mindfulness tips to support you through the last weeks of school

Source: Sloane Chmara

Source: Sloane Chmara

Source: Sloane Chmara

Source: Sloane Chmara

Sloane Chmara

Five mindfulness tips to support you through the last weeks of school

Hello Spring! With this new season comes a lot of exciting things – warm weather, Rites of Spring, sorority and fraternity events, picnics on the lawns, Jeni’s ice cream dates…and FINALS!

As a senior, I’m trying to pack in as much as fun as possible into these next few weeks while also finishing my Vanderbilt career on a strong academic note. During a time where there is seemingly SO much to do, it can be difficult to find a way to do it ALL while keeping your priorities straight, staying healthy and making as many Vandy memories as possible.

One way that I have found to be helpful in juggling friends and fun with studying and productivity is mindfulness. Mindfulness is something that everyone can and should practice – not just yogis or meditation gurus! It is all about living in the present moment and directing your focus to the task/person/activity at hand. Below are 5 of my top tips for amping up your mindfulness so that you can make time for all of the things that you have on your bucket list for the last month of the school year.

 

  1. Have a phone-free morning. Your morning has the incredible potential to set the entire mood of your day. By spending a few minutes preparing for your day without the distractions of texts, Instagram notifications, Facebook pop ups etc, you can start your day with a clearer and happier mind. I personally try to meditate, journal, stretch and visualize every morning. It’s a wonderful way to set some intentions for the day and decide on how you want to spend your precious time.
  2. Use a timer for studying. In order to have the time to hang out with your friends without stressing about that unfinished paper due at midnight, we all need some handy study tricks. I would recommend setting a timer on your phone for 30-40 minutes, taking a small break, and then doing it again – these chunks are assigned to undistracted work time! If you can be super productive and focused for a chunk of time, you will be more mindful of the work you’re doing, the time it takes to complete an assignment, and your tendencies to check your phone. Not only will this method help you to be more mindful in your study sessions, but it will also help in the long run when you’ve completed all of your work and are able to be super present with your friends when you’re out having fun.
  3. Rely on your breath. Breathing is essential for life (duh) in so many ways! Besides its ability to bring oxygen to our tissues and release carbon dioxide, it has the power to bring our minds back to the present moment, the goals we set for ourselves, our intentions and our priorities. Practicing deep, intentional breathing is the basis for meditation and mindfulness. Having this tool in your pocket can really help to calm your nerves/stress/anxiety or bring you back to the present moment in just a few seconds. Try it right now!
  4. Say thank you more often. Gratitude is everything in my opinion – it’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of classes, going out, studying, friend drama etc as students in the Vandy bubble. By taking a few moments every day to be grateful for all that you have, you will be more mindful of your tendencies to stress out or complain about the small stuff. Stressed about exams? Be grateful that you have access to such an incredible education. Sad about getting a job rejection? Say thank you to your friends who are supporting you through it. Complaining about being too busy? Be grateful for the unlimited opportunities at your fingertips. By becoming more mindful of what you have, as well as your tendencies to think negatively, you will be in a much better headspace to have happy and healthy relationships with your friends, your academic responsibilities, and yourself!
  5. Laugh laugh laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, and worrying is praying for something that you don’t want. Some of my very best memories at Vanderbilt have been while laughing with my friends as happy tears run down my face – nothing else matters in those moments, and my mind is focused on that happiness and love exclusively. If you can laugh more and stress less, you will embrace life and all that it has to offer in the most abundant way! Look for opportunities to be your amazing, unique, silly self and latch onto those moments whenever you can.

 

Ultimately, being mindful is about focusing on the goodness, the peace and the love in your life. It’s about being cognizant of who you are as your authentic, true self and genuinely sharing that with those around you. Whether you are focused on your Biology study guides or paying attention to your friend’s story about last night, being mindful will make you feel more alive in those moments rather than distracted, stressed or lost in another world. I hope these tips help as the school year comes to an end, and you can find more at www.kaleandkravings.com or on Instagram @kaleandkravings !

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