How to Stay Healthy When You Go Off to College

College Student

Heading off to college is an exciting time in your life. However, it can also be a stressful time.  You may be living on your own for the first time and you’ll have to deal with looming deadlines and tough classes. Of course, you also need to balance academics with parties and other social events. Staying mentally and physically healthy  in these circumstances can be a challenge especially if you have limited time and money. Luckily, if you plan ahead and take some simple steps, you can stay fit and healthy. Keep reading to learn exactly what you should do.

Eat Nutritious Meals

It will be easy to skip breakfast or just grab a large coffee when you have early classes or you had a long night. It will also be easy to munch on salty or sweet processed snacks during the day. However, you won’t get the nutrients you need to fuel your body and mind. As a result, you’ll be tempted to drink energy drinks and sodas to keep you going. While these give you a quick energy boost, they will cause you to crash and feel even worse later when the sugar and caffeine wear off.

Instead, you should eat high-fiber, high-protein food which will keep you full for longer. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially when you have a packed schedule. You should, therefore, make sure you have a balanced breakfast. You should also keep some healthy snacks on hand like nuts, fruit, and protein bars so you don’t eat too much candy or potato chips throughout the day. If you keep wholesome, tasty snacks on hand, you won’t be tempted to eat junk food. Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day and taking probiotics can also help with you.

Get Adequate Exercise

You need to stay active if you want to remain in the peak of health. Not only will exercise keep you physically fit, but it will take your mind off essays and quizzes. You may not have a lot of spare time but even thirty minutes of exercise per day can be helpful. If you don’t have access to a gym, there’s still a lot you can do to stay fit.

For example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk briskly as much possible. You can also do simple exercises like push-ups, planks, and squats which don’t require equipment. If you find it difficult to work out alone, you can turn it into a social activity. Get a group of students to go running with you so can get to know them better and make exercise more fun.  In addition, most colleges have sports programs so even if you don’t play competitively, you can usually find some students who want to blow off some steam. Even dancing to your favorite music can get your heart pumping and cause you to break a sweat.

Get Enough Sleep

It is extremely difficult for college students to get adequate sleep. You will need to pull an occasional all-nighter and of course, you will go to parties. However, you shouldn’t make extremely late nights a habit. Sleep deprivation can cause headaches, fatigue, inability to concentrate and problems regulating your weight. Try to stick to a schedule as much as possible and reduce your use of technology right before bed. You should also avoid drinking caffeine or eating heavy meals when it’s nearing bedtime.

Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

College can be stressful and you need to find healthy outlets when you feel overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated. Resist the urge to turn to drugs or alcohol. Instead, take part in activities you enjoy, take time to reflect and take regular breaks from studying. Playing games, reading for pleasure, doing yoga and getting out in nature can help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to a therapist. Mental health is just as important as physical health and talking to a professional can help you to find ways to cope with your challenges.

Many of the experiences you have in college will impact the rest of your life. If you get into the habit of living healthy lifestyle, it will serve you well in the future. Eat nutritious foods, exercise, get adequate sleep, and manage your stress and you’ll be able to enjoy all college has to offer.

Dani FogelAbout the Author: Dani Fogel. is a Communication Coordinator at Brandable, based in Los Angeles, CA. She works on the Queen V brand within the company’s Digital and Ecommerce department.

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