College summed up in a few words: constant cold and coffee. If caffeine and cough drops are your best friends in college (I know they were mine freshman year), I am going to encourage you to place your cup and tissues down for just one second and listen up.
Here’s how you can stay healthier in college.
1. Make a Realistic Schedule
If you have a major that requires you taking many classes or if you are a double major, plan your schedule very carefully. If you start your day at 8am and find that you do not have any free time to study or even to just breathe until 10 at night, this is a major issue. You might need to consider taking classes over the Winter or Summer sessions in order to free up your schedule a bit. Realistically it makes sense to have either mornings or nights as free as possible (or at least a nice big gap between morning and night classes) so you can get your work done and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
2. BALANCE is key
Freshman year is exciting with all of these clubs and activities being thrown at you, so of course you want to join them all! Do not stress, just take a step back and relax. You can find the time for the important things if you don’t make yourself go crazy. Go to the activities fair, do the classic freshman thing and put your email down everywhere, (I’m guilty of this) but then go home that night and really narrow it down to one or two activities that you want to focus on for now. You need to make time for school, activities, friends, and some down time: it’s all in the art of ~balance~
3. Remember: It is OK to Stay In!
In college you may feel the social pressures to go out almost every night of the week, but you cannot let that get to you. School work is your main priority: your social life comes second. Spending time with your friends can be an incentive, so get your work done first. If you decide to stay in for the night and not study, watch a movie with friends or catch up with each other if you’ve had a busy week! These are the best kind of nights: great stress relievers and a good way to let your body regroup.
4. Make Enough Time for Yourself
I love a little “me time” every once in a while and it is crucial to do. I know that many college students feel guilty if they have some down time and they are not utilizing it to study. But guess what, that’s perfectly alright and you deserve some free time to yourself after all the hard work you put in! Curl up in bed and watch your favorite TV show, read a book, do some online shopping (remember to use TUN.com to find those online student discounts), whatever it takes!
5. Drink Alternatives to Caffeine!
“H2O is the way to go!” is a line that a nice man at a restaurant once said to me. But yes this is true, drink your water! Try to drink at least two water bottles before breakfast (yes that is the recommended amount), you will feel more energized I promise you. I have many friends who say they don’t like water (it is needed to survive, but OK). If you’re like them I have some alternatives for you! Spice up your water with a lemon or other fruits to give it some flavor. No I do not mean use those flavored droppers that you put in water, I mean use REAL fruit. Coconut water is a great option as well. It is a tasty treat with natural electrolytes that give you the energy boost you need. My favorite option: make a yummy smoothie! This will be good when you have hit that mid-afternoon wall. Smoothies are a great snack that fill you up while hitting you with that much needed burst of energy from its natural sugars.
6. Snack on Healthier Options
Of course it is always easy to go for the goldfish, Oreos, or the left over Chipotle and Pizza in your refrigerator. There is a time and place for these unhealthier options, but that is only every once in a while. During the week try as best as you can to snack on alternatives, so you can use the unhealthier options as incentives for the weekend (in moderation of course). For example: an apple with peanut butter, a handful of nuts, some cold cuts, or yogurt with a little granola. These options are just as yummy and even more filling than the unhealthier options.
7. Make Time for the Gym
This is crucial! Even if it is just a quick 30 minutes every few days, that’s something! Working out is one of the biggest stress relievers and a great study break. Staying in shape AND taking a study break? It’s a win win situation!
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