Successfully entering an MBA program is certainly something to celebrate. Many students spend months, if not years, pursuing the esteemed degree. Needless to say that the investment pays off. As you move through your course, you’ll learn valuable skills while building your professional network and strengthening your career prospects.
Acquiring your MBA online further improves the experience. With a flexible schedule, you can study on your own terms and spend more time doing what you enjoy. You might also be able to work on the side. And with expenses like transport and accommodation out of the picture, you’ll have a little more financial freedom.
That’s not to say it’s all fun and games, though. A master’s degree isn’t just a major achievement but also a major responsibility. Everyday demands can take over and draw your attention away from your well-being. This is no way forward. Your mental and physical health should always be a priority.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can keep yourself in check while studying for an MBA online.
Define Your Purpose
Going in blind can leave you feeling lost and unmotivated. Start by considering the why behind your decision. Why are you pursuing an MBA degree? What will it accomplish? How will it move you forward in life?
A study performed by Gallup in 2019 found that 80% of college students consider it important to derive a sense of purpose from what they do. Moreover, graduates who perform purposeful work are 10 times more likely to have high overall wellness. Get a head start by being aware of the purpose behind your studies.
While you’re at it, consider taking note of some goals for the foreseeable future. Include actionable steps that bring you closer to accomplishing them. This will help you stay focused on what matters most.
Stave off Stress
Even the toughest students can struggle under the crush of classes and papers. Let’s not forget that you still have a life outside of school, including all of its responsibilities, relationships and potential work obligations. Here are some tips for stress-free study:
- Optimize Your Work Environment
Choose a dedicated space. Ideally, it should be somewhere quiet and conducive to calm. Try to incorporate as much natural lighting as possible. Replace any clutter with a comfortable and ergonomic workstation. Adding in a few plants can also help. Distractions such as televisions and games are best kept out of reach.
- Avoid Procrastination
Studying online can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have more freedom. But that also opens the door to procrastination. Putting everything off until the last minute can leave you scrambling to catch up, which leads to stress. You can combat this by sticking to a daily routine. Check out this post to learn more about time management.
- Don’t Skip Sleep
Stimulants like caffeine pills, energy drinks and prescription meds might seem enticing, especially if you’re inclined to pull the odd all-nighter. But the crash that inevitably follows will always outweigh the progress made. It also increases your susceptibility to stress. Try to reserve your study sessions for when the sun is up.
Eat Your Veggies
Another key contributor to stress is an unhealthy diet. While convenient, pizza, noodles, soft drinks and the like will lower your overall energy. This allows tension levels to become exceedingly high, leaving you tired and lethargic. Over time, this can create a lousy cycle of hunting for junk food and sugar highs that make you feel worse.
Whether you want to get in shape or simply stay healthy while studying, the following tips can help:
- Eat foods that are rich in fiber. This includes fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains like oats.
- Stick to healthy fats such as those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil.
- Prioritize protein when choosing a breakfast for longer-lasting energy. Eggs are naturally a great option.
- Try only drinking water and the occasional tea or black coffee. Green tea is especially healthy.
- Create a shopping list and stick to those items to avoid impulse-buying unhealthy foods.
- Ditch added sugar. This means staying away from candy, cakes, cookies, soda and dairy desserts.
- Reduce your intake of refined carbs as well. Choose complex carbs like barley, quinoa and potatoes instead.
You may also want to consider introducing a few supplements into your diet. Not only can they make up for nutritional deficiencies, but they can also promote a greater sense of calm as well. Here are some popular options:
- Valerian root contains a unique acid that alters receptors in your body related to anxiety, helping you relax.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can lower inflammation and prevent stress.
- Lemon balm has been studied for its ability to fight anxiety.
- Green tea has several antioxidants that promote calm. It can also increase serotonin levels.
- Kava kava is a member of the pepper family that can work as a mild sedative.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep ensures that you can stay focused when absorbing notes and acing exams. In fact, there isn’t much else that plays a larger role when it comes to your mood and cognitive performance. Sufficient shuteye helps you eat less, avoid stress, exercise better and stay on top of your goals. Here are some points to consider:
- Leverage Light
Your circadian rhythm, which controls when your body stays awake, is largely regulated by light. Keep your internal clock in check by increasing your exposure to bright light during the day. At night, your room should be as dark as possible. Avoid blue light-emitting devices like smartphones, laptops and televisions at least an hour before bed.
- Adjust Your Schedule
There are certain things that, done late enough in the day, can negatively impact your ability to sleep. This includes exercise, which should be reserved for the morning. Consuming caffeine late in the day can also keep you up. Try to avoid eating and drinking right before bed entirely. Long, late naps can also harm your sleep quality.
- Improve Your Bedroom
When you kick back and call it a day, the environment that surrounds you becomes a major factor. Ensure that your bedroom is clean, cool, dark and quiet in the evenings. Invest in a comfortable pillow and mattress that support your spine. Ideally, the space should be reserved exclusively for sleep – not work or entertainment.
- Change Your Habits
Replace social media scrolling and news-watching with deep breathing and meditation exercises. Getting cozy with a book is a great alternative. If you prefer a bit of indulgence, you can take a warm bath 90 minutes before bed.
You probably don’t need to be told why exercise is so important for overall health, so let’s get right into it. Start by detailing a workout plan that suits your study schedule. Consider your current fitness level and goals.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, a daily walk may be sufficient. From there, you can incorporate a stretch routine to improve your balance and mobility. This will help you stay flexible and avoid injuries when you begin running. You may prefer bodyweight workouts or some sessions at the gym.
Don’t forget that there are countless other sports that can keep you active on a regular basis. Activities such as swimming, hiking, cycling, dancing and martial arts are also options, each with their own myriad of benefits.
Then there’s yoga, Pilates and other less intense ways to get moving. They might not earn you killer abs, but they still contribute to better strength and muscle tone. In due course, you’ll have more energy and a stronger sense of well-being. All forms of exercise serve as powerful stress-relievers, too.
Support Your Mental Health
We’ve already detailed the factors that lay the foundation for your mental health, but there’s more to it than that. Aside from diet, sleep, exercise and stress management, you should also consider the following:
As we touched on earlier, you need to have a purpose in life. This can be anything that benefits yourself as well as others. Simply being aware of it makes all the difference. Doing engaging work and caring for people or animals can provide a tangible sense of fulfilment. You can also take part in local volunteering or caregiving opportunities.
- Social Connection
Studying online can keep you indoors and away from other people for longer than usual. Be sure to make time for friends and family throughout the week. Regular face-to-face conversations and positive interactions will keep stress and anxiety at bay while providing a support network that you can rely on when in need. Stay in touch by:
- Calling a loved one to check in, ask how they are, and possibly arrange a meet-up.
- Reaching out to acquaintances.
- Joining a group, be it for exercise, sports or a hobby.
- Greeting passers-by and employees when shopping.
By incorporating these pillars of well-being into your life, the years that you spend studying for your MBA will be far more beneficial to your overall development. Come graduation, you’ll hold your degree with confidence, knowing that you’re ready for anything that lies ahead.