When you’re in grad school, you probably aren’t thinking about too much outside of getting good grades, but taking care of yourself is just as important as studying. Here are some ways to stay healthy while getting your degree.

Don’t get sick

There are several vulnerability factors that can contribute to getting sick. Sleep is one of the most important things your body needs. If you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is compromised because sleep deprivation affects you on a cellular level. In addition, a lack of sleep is a major contributor to stress, which leads to an increase in the production of the stress hormone cortisol. The more your body produces cortisol, the longer it hits the “off” switch on your immune system so your body can direct all its energy towards dealing with stress.

Whenever possible, wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer.  This will cut down on the spread of germs. It’s also important to take your vitamins. It turns out that Vitamin D, not C, is actually more effective at preventing illness. It’s also important to eat nutrient-rich foods, which might involve a complete overhaul of your diet.

Eat a proper diet

Eating healthy requires some effort, but it is worth it for your overall health. Studies have shown that a proper diet aids in memory and learning, sleep patterns, energy levels, weight reduction and a lack of disease. Planning meals in advance and choosing nutrient-rich whole foods are the keys to a successful eating program, and carrying snacks throughout the day will help you avoid vending machines. Good supermarket tips include: shopping the perimeter of the store, making a grocery list, eating before you shop and ignoring any impulse items at checkout.

Make sure you exercise

Regular exercise can actually improve memory, in addition to keeping you fit. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Study on the treadmill, take the long way to class (if walking or biking), choose stairs instead of elevators. Wearing gym-like clothing throughout the day enables spontaneous bursts of exercise and eliminates any excuses. Once you make exercise part of your daily routine, it will become a habit.

Don’t forget your mental health

Staying healthy doesn’t just mean your physical state. Grad school can be extremely stressful, and pursuing a graduate degree can be emotionally and psychologically burdensome. This can take a huge toll on anybody’s mental health. It’s important to take time away periodically to do something enjoyable, as well as to seek help whenever necessary. People with any type of mental illness need to pay extra attention to signs that they might need help. Arrange to have regular check-ins with friends or family to help keep you grounded.