As the school year gets tougher with midterms, jobs and more midterms, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves and looking out for those around us. Schedules are packed, schoolwork is intense and having social life seems impossible. It can be easy to forget about your physical and mental health.

Over 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities as a student and 50% of students rating their mental health below average or poor, with 40% of students fail to seek help, according to collegestats.org.

These statistics are saddening and alarming, but not shocking in the slightest. Students completely lose sight of their own needs because they feel that school is more important than anything else. However, there are so many small things that you can do to make sure that your mental and physical health are not suffering in order to keep up with your schedule and schoolwork.

Make sure you are taking breaks. Studying for hours on end can be pointless if you are not retaining the material. Set an alarm on your phone for a time when you want to take a break. When the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing and take time to check in with yourself. Maybe you have not eaten or need a little more coffee or water. Do something for yourself before you go back to studying.

Drink water as much as possible. According to a study conducted by Nina Stachenfeld of the Yale School of Medicine and the John B. Pierce Laboratory, memory and executive functions can be affected by even mild dehydration. Water is so important to the body’s ability to properly function, and it might even allow you to get a few extra right answers on a test.

Do not skip sleeping. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep affects focus which in turn affects learning. If you are not sleeping, you cannot properly learn material. Sleep also affects the retention of information. If you are pulling an all-nighter to study for that 8 a.m. test, the evidence suggests that you will not retain as much information as someone who slept the night before. Sleeping is so important for both mental and physical health.

Students tend to get sick around midterms because they are not resting their body enough, which leaves it more susceptible to contracting illnesses, as explained in an article by the Huffington Post, and no one wants to take their midterm while they are sick.

As reported last week in the Loyolan, LMU CARES is taking steps to aid in students' mental and physical health with Wellness Wednesdays, which “feature[s] programming, arts, crafts and vendors promoting taking time for yourself and focusing on your personal wellness.”

Take care of yourself and look out for signs of mental and physical health issues in others. Your friends might just need a friend to talk to or someone to study with, so make sure you are looking out for them as well. Your mental and physical health are such important parts of life that often get overlooked — but they should be a major priority.

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