Well-Being Wednesday: Tips for a healthy semester

Whether you are a first-year student living away from home for the first time or a seasoned Ph.D. candidate preparing to defend your dissertation, this time of the year brings a host of emotions. You may be excited about new opportunities while also feeling anxious about coming challenges. As you juggle responsibilities in academics, personal relationships and life, the Student Care Network is bringing you some tips and resources to empower you to take care of yourself. 

Try the Headspace mindfulness app 

  • Vanderbilt offers free access to Headspace for students. The app is a research-backed digital tool for mindful living, with more than 1,200 hours of themed meditations, sleep content, mindful movement exercises and focus music. Headspace has been shown to improve sleep, reduce stress, improve focus and increase resilience and happiness.  

Make sleep a priority and start a sleep routine  

  • Turn off your blue screen at least an hour before bedtime. 
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  • Set a bedtime reminder on your phone. 
  • Before going to sleep, try reading a book, deep breathing, mindful meditation or journaling.  

Eat a well-balanced diet 

  • Your relationship with nutrition is a long and highly personalized journey. You can use Campus Dining’s NetNutrition tool to plan meals and help you meet nutrition goals.  
  • If you are interested in professional dietary advice, including navigating allergies, you can schedule an appointment with Emily Svennevik, a licensed dietitian with Vanderbilt Campus dining. 

Stay hydrated 

  • Eight cups of water, or roughly three full water bottles, is a good goal to aim for.  
    • Be sure to adjust based on your individual needs, outside temperature and activity level. 
  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you to fill at hydration stations around campus throughout the day.  

Move your body 

Journal your thoughts 

  • There are benefits of writing down your thoughts, whether it’s just when you feel overwhelmed or you can make it a practice. Review your entries to observe growth and identify areas in need of support.  

Set appropriate boundaries and allow for “me time” 

  • In the beginning of the school year, it is easy to overextend yourself with new and exciting opportunities. Set aside a time frame each day for yourself and do things that you enjoy and that give you time to relax. 

Let friends and family know how they can best support you 

  • Set up a schedule to call or FaceTime family members.  
  • Identify some good friends with whom you can decompress after a week and communicate how you can support each other. 

Find community 

In need of professional help? Turn to the Student Care Network 

You at VU

At Vanderbilt, fostering a deep sense of belonging for every community member is a core value. You at VU encompasses campus resources needed for members of the Vanderbilt community to be well, grow and thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and professionally. The You at VU portal is a one-stop spot where students, staff and faculty can find ways to connect to others, engage across campus and discover wellbeing support and resources. Each person who is a part of our campus shares one commonality: You belong here. For more information, visit