As the new school year begins, college students can find it overwhelming to transition from a leisurely summer to a regimented schedule of exams, homework, and other obligations. With so much happening so quickly, it’s easy to let your time get away from you, but practicing mindfulness – being fully aware, focused and in the present moment – can help you reclaim your time and make school more manageable. What’s more, many universities here in Orlando have resources for students that can help.
Exercise is a fun and rewarding way to engage mindfulness. It keeps you grounded for a finite amount of time in which the only goal is to move your body beneficially and enjoyably. Both high and low intensity workouts can do the trick. The University of Central Florida (UCF) has a fully equipped fitness center as well as a group workout schedule that is available to all students including yoga, cycling and other classes. Rollins College also has several on-site athletic facilities for physical exercise including a swimming pool and tennis court for student use.
Another way to practice mindfulness is to do just that – practice it. Meditation is especially helpful for this, and UCF offers both the Koru Basic Mindfulness Course, a free, interactive course available to students that helps teach skills and techniques emphasizing mindfulness, and the Mindful Minute, which uses the HeartMath Inner Balance™ App and sensor to help recognize and understand physiological symptoms of stress to better manage them.
Rollins College offers Mindful Moments for students, an initiative designed to provide resources encouraging mindfulness, community, and spirituality. Signing up for their mailing list enables participants to receive new prompts (as well as gives access to archived ones) inspiring pause and reflection. Meditation sessions are held both virtually and in-person weekly so students in need of a breather can take advantage.
When all else fails, simply getting away from your computer and out of your study room can do wonders to help recenter yourself. Central Florida has an abundance of parks, trails and other spots that allow you to get back to nature. UCF also has multiple nature trails right on campus that both students and the general public can take advantage of year-round, and for students of Rollins and Full Sail University, there are tons of local options: Kraft Azalea Gardens is one of the best kept secrets in Winter Park for quiet and stillness, and the sprawling Lake Baldwin Park is also dog-friendly (spending time with furry friends is a great way to decompress).
Starting the school year can be stressful, but with a tiny bit of effort and some mindfulness, it can be much less nerve-wracking and much more enjoyable.