10 Wellness Tips to Get You Through College
College is meant to be the time of your life. It is the time when you can focus on you and your life ahead of you. You're on your own and finally living by your own rules. It's all exciting. It's all new. It's also important that you learn how to take care of yourself. No one is around to make sure you are eating healthy or brushing your teeth. You're an adult now, and you need to start acting like one. College is stressful and time-consuming. But you still need to stay fit. Here are 10 wellness tips to get you through to your college years.
1. Be sure you're getting enough sleep.
No matter how tempting it may be, don't short-change yourself when it comes to sleep. Pulling all-nighters every night may not be the best idea, no matter how loud the roommates are. Insufficient sleep raises the risk for depression, anxiety and possibly serious illnesses. Plus, not getting adequate sleep can have an effect on how we experience everyday stressors. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for optimal health. Try to stick to the same schedule as the sun. This means, you need to sleep when it's dark, not from 4 a.m. to noon.
2. Eat breakfast every day.
We aren't joking when we say "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." In fact, studies show that skipping breakfast may actually have a negative effect on scholastic achievements. We're not saying you need to make a full meal of pancakes, eggs and bacon every day, but you should definitely eat something with substance. Even just a bagel and banana would suffice. There are lots of options out there that are quick and easy. Just find something that works for you, and stick with it.
3. Make good food choices.
Staying healthy in college can be a challenge - no more home-cooked meals or parents telling you what you should or shouldn't eat. But you've got to take control of your eating habits at some point, so you might as well start now. Fast food and vending machines are part of the college experience, but try to choose the healthier options at the drive-thru. Instead of the double bacon cheeseburger, ask for a salad. Think moderation. Other healthy tips when eating on the go include:
- Don't super-size your order.
- Try baked potatoes and soup instead of the fried chicken.
- Bring your own protein bar and banana to class with you instead of raiding the vending machines.
4. Energize without energy drinks.
Caffeinated beverages like soda and energy drinks can be beneficial for those late-night study sessions. But these drinks are actually doing more harm than good. The combination of the caffeine and sugar causes energy levels to crash even lower. Trying to keep your body awake when what it really needs is sleep will ultimately cause your body to break down. This can lead to serious conditions such as obesity, lack of concentration and a weak immune system. Having to rely on any sort of artificial stimulation is never a good thing.
If you're short on sleep and need a boost, try going for a brisk walk or heading to an exercise class instead of reaching for caffeine and energy drinks.
5. Consume alcohol conservatively.
It's exciting when you're finally old enough to legally buy a beer and wine, but binging on alcohol will only come around to haunt you. Having a few drinks after a long day may seem harmless and feel good. When "not having too many" becomes "too many hangovers," you could be headed down a road you don't want to be on. What's more, drinking gives you so many empty calories you don't need. One light beer is 100 calories. Those calories can add up fast, and before you know it, you'll have a beer belly of your own. Learn how to drink responsibly and recognize your limits, and encourage others to do so as well.
6. Don't make excuses: you need exercise.
Even 20 minutes of exercise can make a difference to your health and wellness in college. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels and help with mood. Running on a treadmill not your thing? Don't worry. There are lots of other activities you can try instead. Finding time to exercise during a busy college schedule can be a challenge, but most colleges have some sort of gym for their students so you can work out when you are already on campus. You may also have access to Yoga or other group classes that will help keep you on track. It's often easier to stick to exercise with a group than solo.
7. Express emotions.
Emotional health is often overlooked by college students. Some students are embarrassed to share when they feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Finding a trusted friend, counselor or practitioner to confide in is one of our biggest health tips for college students. College is a stressful time of life when big decisions are made and lots of changes happen. Having a way to express all that you are feeling is essential. If you have a particular challenge like depression, anxiety or an eating disorder, find a support group. It will help you realize that you aren't alone and there are people who can understand and help you.
8. Wash your hands.
We know, this is so basic. But washing your hands regularly is one of the most proactive ways to prevent you from getting the flu, a cold or that nasty virus that's going around. Washing hands removes germs, prevents you from getting sick and helps prevent spreading germs to others. Trust us, when you think of all the hands around campus and where they have been, you'll want to wash your hands as much as possible.
9. Keep your hobbies going.
College is a time to find new interests, but that doesn't mean that you need to give up your old ones. While you fill your schedule with new classes, new lectures and new friends, don't leave out the activities and hobbies that you really love. Find time to relax and do something that is familiar and comforting. Love to draw? Pick up the pen and paper and sketch. Need a good, juicy novel that is not assigned reading? Find your nearest library and pick up a book you can indulge in.
10. Drink your water.
Staying hydrated is one of the best health tips for college students. It can help you concentrate and keep you from overeating. It replenishes your body and gives you energy throughout the day. Like we said, it really is the best thing for you. Your body needs at least eight glasses of water per day. If you're physically active, you make need even more than that. We like to suggest carrying around a reusable water bottle and sipping it throughout the day.
Wellness Tips 101
Remember these wellness tips, and you're well on your way to a successful college career. Learning how to take care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself in this new phase of life. Sure, you're going to have to pull all-nighters, skip breakfast because you're running late and have one too many beers at a party. Just don't make it a habit. And if you ever need more advice or tips on how to survive the college life? Come check us out. We have all the info you need to have the best experience possible.