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Five ways to put yourself first so you can do your best work (because science matters).

Posted by: Judith Edwards
Jan. 31, 2017

We’re already 1/12 of the way through 2017. Which means you’re already up to your ears in new projects, new travel schedules, new grad students to manage, and new funding to acquire. Overwhelmed yet? It might seem counterintuitive, but the first step to taking control of your to-do list is to take care of yourself.


Here are five quick and easy ways to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders each day:


Get more sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours for adults.


Eat plants.

They aren’t just cool to study, they also naturally contain hundreds of vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to function and thrive. Not a fan of salads? Maybe try a green smoothie before leaving for work in the morning.


Take the stairs.

You might not have time to exercise each day, but try to get moving whenever and wherever you can. Walk to lunch instead of driving; take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk to your colleague’s office instead of calling them; or set up a makeshift standing desk to reduce the hours you spend sitting.


Stop and breathe.

Call it what you want—meditation, a break, a brain vacation—but taking time to stop, clear your mind, and breathe has many proven health benefits. And it’s one of the easiest things to do! Here’s a great guide to a five-minute meditation.


Do something fun.

When was the last time you took time to do something just because you found it enjoyable? According to Dr. Stuart Brown, author of Play, “purposeless, fun and pleasurable” activities like creating art, reading books, watching movies, listening to or making music, and even laughing and being silly, can help us be better problem solvers, improve our relationships, and sharpen our minds.


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Judith Edwards

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