Back to school can be both exciting and stressful for college students. While you get used to your new course load, you’ll spend time with friends and set up a new routine. And as your calendar fills up, be sure to make time for health and wellness. It can be tricky to stay healthy while your schedule is packed, so feeling your best can take some extra attention.
Here are some basic tips for prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental health during college. Whether you’re a new freshman or expert senior, focusing on your health can help you thrive during these formative years.
DO create a routine.
Your college schedule is packed with classes, study sessions, activities, and social time. When you’re this busy, making time to exercise, plan meals, and care for your mental health can be tricky. This is especially true if your days aren’t organized. By creating a daily routine, you can make wellness a regular part of your schedule. For example, you might go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the same time each week, or spend Sunday afternoons preparing healthy snacks. Eventually, your routine will feel like second nature, and you won’t have to give wellness much thought.
DON’T overlook the importance of sleep.
It may seem like college is all about all-nighters and late-night study groups. But this doesn’t need to be true. Sleep is an essential part of your health. When you’re well-rested, you can focus in class and even perform better on exams. If your friends or roommates are night owls, try to avoid synching to their habits. Establish your own nighttime routine and set boundaries when necessary.
DO make better choices in the dining hall.
The dining hall offers basically any food that you can dream of. And while it may feel like a victory to finally be able to eat pizza every night for dinner, this habit won’t benefit your health. You can support your wellness and feel your best by making healthier choices in the dining hall. Try to fill your plate with vegetables and protein, while avoiding processed items. Get creative at your school’s salad bar and try out some fun soups. If you’re concerned about your nutritional intake during college, talk to your doctor about taking vitamins from trusted supplement manufacturers as well.
DON’T go to class sick.
When you’re feeling the pressure from your professors, staying home sick might feel impossible. However, pushing yourself through a cold or the flu can prolong your sickness. If you’re ill, try to stay home and rest. You should also visit the on-campus clinic to get a diagnosis from a doctor if you think you have an illness worse than a common cold. Most professors have a policy for sick days, so be sure to ask or check your syllabus. You can catch up on material once you feel better, and your classmates will thank you for not spreading germs.
DO make time for self-care.
As you focus on your classes, activities, and social life, it’s easy to feel burnt out. You need to take time to recharge on your own and take care of yourself during college. This could mean reading outdoors between classes or getting coffee with a friend. It could also mean staying home to watch TV while your classmates head to the liquor store or a party. Setting boundaries will help you recharge, so you can handle your busy schedule with ease.
College are some of the most vibrant and busy years of your life, so it can be easy to get caught up in the day to day. However, by slowing down and caring for your health, you can thrive during this time rather than drag. As with most aspects of college, your wellness routine is unique to you. So, forget what others are doing and try out routines that work for you.
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