Learning may be good for the mind and soul, but it can be hell on the body. I can vividly remember a sea of faces lined with misery and sleep deprivation. Students are tired and cranky. They suffer from low back pain, headaches, and digestive upsets. In short, they usually are completely out of balance...but, why? From the TCM perspective, the intellect is connected to the Spleen. The Spleen is the organ that contributes to memorization of information. When we read and study for long periods of time, the Spleen is strained. On top of this, the diet of students usually suffers. When you are cramming all night for an exam, cooking dinner is not a priority. Many students turn to convenience food to get by. The excess of sugary, greasy food combined with long hours of study leads to deficiency of the Spleen.
Students also sit...a lot. Hours spent sitting in the classroom are usually followed by hours spent sitting in front of a desk or computer. This lack of movement constricts the circulation of qi. The qi gets stuck, and the result is pain or tension, usually in the low back or shoulder/neck area. The Liver qi tends to stagnate easily, and once this happens, there are symptoms of irritability, insomnia, hypochondriac pain (pain that resides under the ribs), headaches, and digestive issues.
So, what should a suffering student do if dropping out isn't an option? Simply put: eat well, move, breathe, and pamper yourself whenever possible. If you don't have time to prepare meals, try to stay away from the processed snacks and stick to fresh whenever possible. Drink plenty of water-dehydration will exhaust you, which is certainly not conducive to studying. Don't sit in one spot for hours on end; get up every so often and move around to get that blood and qi flowing. Most of us don't realize how shallow our breaths become when we are focusing; every hour, spend a few minutes and do some deep breathing. And every so often, take time out for yourself. Take a walk. Get a massage. Or, simply find something to do that gives you a sense of well-being...such as acupuncture.