7 Ways to Build Healthy Habits this SummerPosted on June, 14, 2022 by Susan
As students stepped out of their Covid cocoons and back into their classrooms last fall, everyone was talking about how to help students catch up with their academics. What wasn’t being talked about was possibly the most important piece. The downhill slide of healthy self-care habits that improve mental health and academic performance. Studies have shown that approaching academics in a holistic way leads to better grades. Before school begins is a good time to take a step back and build healthy habits for future academic success. Just follow these 7 ways to build healthy habits this summer for a less stressful and more productive experience this fall.
In researching for this article, I asked several ACA students about self-care during the school year. As far as exercise, many said they used to exercise regularly but when the gym, sports, and intramurals closed down, they stopped and had not gotten back into it. I asked if they got enough sleep…..a resounding no for that one. Do you eat healthy?….is pizza and Doritos healthy? It’s no wonder that students lacked motivation, task initiation, and the energy to keep up with academics.
The primary area that needs attention is Self-Care. Here are a few self-care habits to start working on:
1. Healthy Sleep Habits – Set consistent times to get up and go to sleep every day over the summer. This will assist in improving the morning routine when school begins. Students who get their full 8 hours have better executive function skills, simple as that.
2. Exercise Regularly – The key is for the student to find something they enjoy doing, maybe taking a yoga class or meeting a friend at the gym at certain times each week.
3. Stay Hydrated – Start the habit of carrying a full water bottle at all times to decrease fatigue and improve brain power. I recommend using a water bottle that has a straw and a handle as this has been shown to help increase water intake. This visual reminder really helps!
4. Eat Healthy – It is commonly known that eating healthy foods increases energy and improves mood. The mistake most people make is trying the all-or-nothing method. Start small like not ordering the fries or eating a healthy salad twice a week. When your good habit becomes something you automatically do, add another one.
As a parent, you can also help your student develop habits of Independence and Problem Solving. Here are a few:
5. Develop Schedules and Routines – People who have routines and follow a schedule are far more productive. Have your student start with one small task, like going to bed 10 minutes earlier, and when they have mastered that, try turning off devices 10 minutes earlier.
6. Creative Problem-Solving – Rather than swooping in to get your student past roadblocks, ask, “what do you think you should do?” And don’t give in when they say, “I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you!” Assure your student that you are confident they can do this.
7. Decision Making – Consider teaching your student to make a pros and cons list… For example, maybe they are deciding if they should take an 8:00 AM college class.
- Pros: get it out of the way and use the extra time to work out
- Cons: Not a morning person so it would be too tempting to skip the class
If something you tried doesn’t work, do not give up! Just be patient, regroup, and try something else.
Do you want more specific strategies or examples of how to build better habits in the real world? Just send me an email at email@example.com. I’m happy to help!
Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
Atomic Habits by James Clear