“The foundation of success in life is good health.” – P.T Barnum
This article talks about a very basic part of life. Something which most of us are born with but tend to lose it in bits and pieces as we navigate through life’s journey in search of whatever one’s definition of success is. They say you can’t create your masterpiece without a canvas. Your body is your canvas on which you have to construct your masterpiece. If you are a UPSC civil services aspirant, your masterpiece is going to be the success you generate out of your efforts to crack what is called the mother of all exams in India – the UPSC civil services exam.
Between attending classes, reading UPSC study material, making notes, revising, practicing previous year question papers and scouting for current affairs material, an IAS aspirant hardly has the time and inclination to take care of himself/herself. It is only when an illness takes over that a student’s attention is veered towards his/her health. Remember this, only you are responsible for your health. If you don’t take care of it, it won’t be long before you become afflicted by illness, lethargy, and a lack of energy to even sit up, let alone prepare for the IAS exam.
You should also take care not to be overweight or underweight. This is not only from a health point of view but also for the sake of the UPSC board interview. Research reveals that a candidate’s physique has a subconscious impact on the interviewer. Yes, people should not be judged based on how they look, but when it comes to making impressions, this aspect matters. A healthy physique indicates good health which in turn is a sign of a responsible person. It also gives you truck-loads of confidence. The UPSC doesn’t want to appoint people with a lazy or don’t-care attitude.
Read on for tips to maintain a good body and sound mind during your IAS preparation.
“You are what you eat.”
- Eat healthy – take care to eat healthy food like fruits, dry fruits and vegetables. Reduce the intake of carbs and fat. Include nutritious food which give you minerals, vitamins and proteins.
- Avoid junk food. As a student you generally tend to take a lot of fast food. This is tempting and easy. But also exactly what it is called – junk. Not only is it useless to your body, it is actively harmful. It can also affect your mental faculties and make you less alert. Totally avoid sugary sodas.
- Dry fruits and fish are good for your brain. Include them in your diet. If you are a vegetarian there are alternatives like nuts and berries.
- When you eat is as important as what you eat. Take your meals on time. Eat small meals at regular intervals to avoid hunger pangs. Don’t skip your meals.
- Keep nutritious food nearby. Store fruits and other healthy snacks near your study room so that you can grab them when you are hungry. This way you avoid eating junk food.
- Drink plenty of water. Remember to be hydrated.
- Make sure you get all your shots. If there is an outbreak of any infectious disease in your locality, rush to the doctor and get vaccinated.
- If you feel stressed, you might get a craving for unhealthy food. Getting stressed about the UPSC civil services exam is natural, but learn ways to beat stress in a healthy manner.
- Complement your healthy diet with regular exercise. Not only does it help you maintain good health but also provides a welcome break from your studies routine.
- Play a game like badminton or football. Playing a game is both an exercise and a relaxing technique. It can be a great stress-buster.
- If you are not used to, avoid doing heavy exercises like heavy weightlifting. Stay fit for sure, but don’t injure yourself in the process.
- Go for walks in the park, especially in the mornings. It can give you positive vibes which will improve your concentration and memory.
- Many UPSC aspirants make the mistake of pulling all-nighters in their attempt to finish off a portion of the UPSC syllabus. Avoid this as you will upset your body and mind with the extra strain. Instead, be an early riser and study. Studies show that your brain works to its fullest potential in the early mornings.
- Have 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Sufficient sleep is a precursor to a healthy body.
- When you sleep, try to make it count. Don’t think of your impending exam or the portions you are yet to study. Don’t take caffeine before going to bed. All this hampers your sleep. It is important to have a good sleep so that you can wake up with loads of energy and enthusiasm.
- UPSC civil services aspirants are generally stressed out because of various factors like the huge UPSC syllabus, multiple sources to learn from, pressure from family and friends, etc. This can take a toll on your health. De-stress by practicing Yoga and meditation.
- Practicing Yoga can lead to you being more calm and healthy, which are the fuel you need on your IAS journey.
So remember, eat right, exercise and de-stress. These can be the pillars on which you built your UPSC success story.