Studying for a masters in counseling is an essential step in becoming a qualified counselor. The program is demanding and requires a large investment, both in terms of time and money. However, once you have earned a masters in counseling, you will be rewarded with a long and satisfying career with multiple attractive job perks. This includes fantastic job security, career advancement, and the chance to earn a good living helping people and having a positive impact.
Studying for a masters in counseling is not easy, and you will need to work extremely hard to earn the qualification. Completing the course is made all the more challenging if you have other commitments on your time, i.e., a job or a family. Students studying for a masters in counseling should pay close attention to their health and be aware of the signs of stress and burnout. Fortunately, there are lots of creative ways to incorporate fitness into your busy routine and ensure that you stay healthy while studying.
Tips to Stay Fit while Studying for a Masters in Counseling.
Organize your time well
Studying for a masters in counseling is demanding, and you will be required to multitask and prioritize different learning tasks and assessments. Managing your time while studying can be a serious challenge, even more so if you’re working or raising a family alongside studying. Being disorganized is likely to lead to missed deadlines and high amounts of pressure and stress. With that in mind, it is vitally important that you organize your time well and stick with a study schedule.
Before you start your masters in counseling program, read through the course description carefully, and mark key coursework deadlines and assessments on your calendar. You must then decide how much time you need to allocate to your learning tasks each week and create a clear study plan to follow. Being organized is even more important if you’re studying for a masters in counseling online.
A distance learning course will have more flexibility and less structure, so you will need to be extremely self-motivated. According to advice on Driving Innovation, you should plan to study at times when you are most productive and stick to your chosen start and finish times.
Have adequate study breaks
One of the biggest benefits of studying for a masters in counseling online is that you will have the freedom to choose your study schedule. It might be tempting to complete all of your learning activities in one go and have the rest of the week off. However, this approach is likely to cause stress and damage your health and fitness in the long-run. Studying continuously is not only bad for your health; it can also affect your academic performance.
A study by Science Daily found that the brain’s ability to retain information decreases throughout the day. These findings suggest that it is most effective to complete study tasks in the morning and during the day, rather than late at night. The same study also found that it is most effective to study in small chunks or around 30 minutes. Avoid cramming and instead, create a healthy study schedule that includes adequate breaks. Ideally, you should aim to have a short break for every 60 minutes of studying. Make sure that you get up from your desk and move away from your computer screen and learning materials while taking a break.
Create a consistent exercise routine
Finding the time to exercise while you’re studying for a masters in counseling can be difficult. However, maintaining good fitness levels is extremely important, and you should make exercise a priority. Every student can fit exercise into their busy routine with some planning and motivation. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym or can’t find the time, try convenient home workouts instead.
Studies have proven that short bursts of high-intensity exercise can be just as effective as longer workout sessions. Everyone can fit a 10-15 minute workout into their day, so there’s no excuse to skip exercise. Even just a couple of short workouts a week can make a difference in your overall health and fitness levels. Exercising regularly will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower health risks such as cardiovascular disease. Besides the physical perks, regular exercise can also improve your mood and alleviate feelings of stress while you are studying for a masters in counseling.
Find a workout buddy
As discussed, regular exercise can result in a multitude of amazing health benefits. That said, finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult, especially when you are busy studying for a masters in counseling while trying to balance other commitments.
Finding a workout buddy is one of the simplest ways to boost your motivation to exercise. You are far more likely to work out when you have committed to doing an exercise routine with someone. Plus, you are less likely to quit or give up on your exercise routine. Exercising with a buddy is also a lot more enjoyable than doing it alone, and you can make the experience more fun. You can ask a friend, family member, or a coursemate to become your workout buddy.
Alternatively, you can sign up for group exercise classes to meet new people and socialize. There are even apps that have been specifically designed to help you find a workout buddy. Try downloading Workout Buddies to find people in your local area to exercise with.
Get out of the house
If you have chosen to earn a masters in counseling online, then you may find that you are spending a lot more time in your house. You might prefer to complete your learning tasks at home, but spending all day cooped up inside is not good for your physical or mental health. Make an effort to get out of the house at least once a day and go for a walk or do some form of exercise. Even just having your lunch in the garden will give you a much-needed break from the inside of your house. Taking a break to go outside is a great idea if you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed while studying for a masters in counseling.
Studies have found that being outside can reduce stress and improve the symptoms associated with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Spending just 20 minutes a day in nature can improve your mood and wellness while having the added benefit of increasing your activity levels. You can also use natural elements to create a more soothing learning environment. Add some indoor plants and flowers to your study space to create a more relaxing and productive environment.
Start meal prepping
Along with exercise, your diet is fundamental to maintaining good health and fitness. Students tend to put on weight while studying, which is often a result of poor diet and a lack of exercise. Gaining weight can do more than just affect your self-image and confidence; it can also put you at a higher risk of developing health conditions like type two diabetes. You should also be aware that what you eat can have an impact on how well your study. Experts at pinnaclehealth.org state: “Eating a nutritious diet can enhance concentration, improve memory, and prolong attention span.” This, in turn, will boost your learning ability and overall academic performance.
Preparing a variety of nutritious meals every day might seem impossible when you are studying for a masters in counseling. Meal prepping can take away the stress of cooking and make it far easier to stick with a healthy diet. Plan your meals and allocate one day a week when you prepare a batch of healthy meals. These can then be stored in your fridge or freezer and reheated throughout the week. That way, you will have quick, healthy meals readily available and will be less tempted to choose junk convenience foods.
Choose healthy snacks
Eating regular snacks is a great way to keep your energy levels high while studying for a masters in counseling. However, you should be careful with what snacks you choose to eat. Consuming snacks that are high in sugar and fat will make it impossible to maintain a healthy weight, regardless of how healthy the rest of your diet is. For that reason, you should pick nutritious, low-calorie snacks that will fuel your studies and boost your academic ability. For instance, eat popcorn or rice cakes instead of crisps and snack on fresh fruit slices rather than bags of sweets. Minor changes to your snacking habits can have a significant impact on your overall health and fitness.
You can look online for ideas of healthy study snacks to keep you focused while completing a masters in counseling. Experts recommend having a healthy snack every couple of hours while studying to keep your energy levels up. Make sure that you have energy-rich snacks nearby while you study and avoid buying unhealthy, processed snacks.
Drink enough water
Drinking enough water is essential to maintaining good health. Medical experts recommend drinking roughly eight glasses of water a day. Water is vital to multiple bodily functions, including digestion and brain capacity. Failing to drink enough can have severe consequences on your health and lead to unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, tiredness, and headaches. Dehydration can have serious long-term effects and even cause death if left untreated. This is unlikely, but studies suggest that large numbers of people fail to drink the recommended amount of water.
Increasing your water intake is an easy way to improve your health. Research has also found that drinking water can give you a mental boost and enhance your cognitive function. With this in mind, you must ensure that you are drinking enough water while studying for a masters in counseling. Keep a large bottle of water on your desk and set reminders to have a drink at regular intervals. You can make water more appealing by flavoring it using fresh fruit slices and herbs.
Keep an active social life
Earning a masters in counseling is going to take up a lot of your time. That said, you should still try to maintain an active social life and enjoy activities outside of your studies. Your family and friends can provide an excellent source of support when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your studies. Spending time with loved ones can also improve your happiness and boost your health and wellbeing. Make an effort to meet up with family and friends regularly and maintain close bonds. If you are separated by distance, then use technology like social media and Skype to stay in touch.
Make time for yourself
Don’t forget to invest in some self-care while studying for a masters in counseling. You work hard, and it’s important to take a well-deserved break now and then to relax and recharge your batteries. Include daily downtime in your schedule and make time for yourself. You might use this free time to catch up with family and friends, treat yourself to some pampering home beauty treatments, or enjoy hobbies and interests.
Some relaxing activities to try in your free time include reading, watching movies, going on a walk, or playing calming music. Studying for a masters in counseling is demanding, and you must find relaxing outlets to relieve feelings of stress. Remember that everyone needs some time for themselves, and you should make self-care a priority while studying.
Earning a masters in counseling is hard work, and you must avoid letting your studies harm your health and fitness levels. You are likely to have a busy schedule, particularly if you have other commitments and responsibilities on top of your studies.
That said, there are many ways to incorporate health and fitness into your routine, regardless of how busy you are. Try some of the above suggestions to ensure that you remain fit and healthy while studying for a masters in counseling.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.