Tips to Stay Healthy in College
Staying healthy in college is not an easy feat. Between classes, studying, homework, meetings and maintaining a social life, students often forget to maintain their health. Developing healthy habits will not only help you avoid the “Freshman 15”, but it will also help pave the way for a healthier future. Here are a few tips to help students stay healthy.
It is important to pay careful attention to your diet. First, start your day off right by eating a healthy breakfast, no matter what time you wake up. Next, limit the sugary and caffeinated beverages, and junk food you intake. This doesn’t mean you have to completely give up sweets and coffee, just scale back in order to keep yourself in good shape. To satisfy your sweet cravings, try to eat more fruits and vegetables, and keep healthy snacks around. Another way to keep yourself in check, is to learn proper portion size and vary your meals for a balanced nutrition. Also, make sure to keep hydrated by bringing water with you. Not only can water help boost your concentration, it will also keep you from overeating.
It’s not always easy to fit exercise into your busy schedule, so find a way to make it fun. You should try to bring a friend along to the gym for workouts (most schools have a free facility for students), take a fitness course, play a sport, or ride your bike. Even walking to class will give you a chance to burn some easy calories. No matter what physical activity you participate in, make sure you always use proper safety equipment in order to avoid injuries. Prevent any other damage to yours body by stretching (before and after) you exercise.
Getting sleep is an integral part of staying healthy. A lack of rest doesn’t just make you cranky, it can also reduce your ability to concentrate during class or while you’re studying. Create a routine that takes your morning classes into consideration, so you can get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. If you have time during the day, try to take a short nap as it can also do wonders for your energy level. Moreover, as bedtime approaches, be sure to avoid caffeine, eating and drinking, as they can throw off your body’s internal clock. Finally, try not to work in bed since this makes getting to sleep much harder too.
With communal living, spreading colds and viruses is easy if you’re not careful. To stay healthy, follow these do’s and don’ts to prevent the spreading of germs and sickness. Do: Wash your hands, drink lots of fluids, get a flu shot, wear flip flops in the shower, keep immunizations up to date, go to the doctor if you’re sick, and take simple over the counter remedies. On the other hand, don’t share beverages, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, don’t go to class if you’re sick, and avoid touching ill friends.
College is a place where many young adults choose to explore their sexuality, and this can be achieved in a safe way. First and foremost, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. It’s your body and you are in charge, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. If you are nervous or uncomfortable with any element of your sexual relationship, discuss this with your partner. Moreover, ALWAYS use protection to prevent contracting any STDs or other diseases, and get tested regularly (most schools offer these test for free or at a low cost). If you’re a female, it is important you get breast exams, pap smears, and HPV vaccinations, to minimize the risk of cancer. Make sure to educate yourself and talk to someone you trust to stay healthy and happy.
College students are considered a high-risk group for depression. Don’t be afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Beat homesickness and loneliness by keeping in touch with family and friends. Build new friendships and meet new people – this will also help build your confidence. Understand that it may take time to fit in, and that you don’t have to please everyone. Concentrate on making yourself happy first and you’ll cut out a lot of stress. While it can be hard to differentiate a simple slump from serious depression, it is important to learn the signs of depression not only for your own benefit, but for the benefit of your friends too.
With so much to do, it’s easy to get run down. Take a step back and determine what’s most important. Create a routine schedule that puts limits on work hours, and that also includes breaks. Be realistic about the goals you set for yourself and understand that you can’t do everything. To relax, take advantage of campus meditation and yoga programs, enjoy your hobbies, or spend time with friends. Don’t fight your stress by eating. Eating won’t help, so avoid filling up on snacks and try working out instead.