There are plenty of cliches about how unhealthy college students can be. From the “Freshman 15” to ideas of excessive drinking, partying all hours of the night, and living off of Ramen noodles and energy drinks, most college students don’t exactly get the best reputation for leading healthy lifestyles.
While those stereotypes might be an exaggeration, there’s a kernel of truth to them. College gives those in their late teens and early twenties their first real taste of freedom. While it’s okay to want to celebrate that freedom, it’s also important to take care of yourself and stay healthy.
Putting your mental and physical health first will help you to stay present, stay focused, and make the most of your college career. Staying healthy now will keep you dedicated throughout your time at school. So, not only will you be able to appreciate every moment, but you’ll be setting yourself up for success, and to start the next chapter of your adult life once you graduate.
Finding a Fitness Routine That Works for You
One of the biggest struggles you might face in college is finding time to work out. Many campuses across the country have gyms that students can use for free, making it a great option for improving your cardiovascular fitness as well as strength training opportunities.
But, you might not have time to go to the gym every day. Or, maybe you feel intimidated by it. Thankfully, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home or dorm in order to stay physically fit. You can “gym at home” easily, with just a little creativity. Need some fresh ideas? Try one of these:
- Follow online workout videos
- Take a virtual dance class
- Make your own fitness equipment with objects around your dorm
- “Play” outside with friends like you’re kids again
Let’s face it, dorms and campus apartments aren’t exactly known for being spacious. So, you might have to think outside of the box and set up a specific workout space by moving around some furniture. You don’t need a lot of room to stay fit and healthy, so don’t let your cramped quarters be your excuse for lounging around!
Establishing Healthier Habits
Another stereotype that tends to get pinned on college students is unhealthy eating. Thoughts of late-night pizza, alcohol, fast food, and microwaved burritos might come to mind. Whether that’s how you’re actually eating or not, you can probably admit that you should be making better diet choices.
Stress makes people reach for comfort food, and your busy schedule likely makes you turn to convenience food. Unfortunately, that combination usually doesn’t give you a lot of healthy options. But, you can change your diet and commit to healthier eating habits by doing things like meal-prepping, looking up quick recipes online, and doing your research on healthy convenience foods that are easy to grab and go.
In addition to making changes to your diet, it might be time to look at adopting healthy habits elsewhere, too. That includes taking a look at your sleep schedule. College students are notorious for not getting enough sleep, which can cause you to lose focus, become more stressed, and actually weaken your immune system. Taking care of yourself means focusing on every aspect of your wellbeing, from basic hygiene habits like oral care to keeping your room clean and sanitized to reduce your risk of illness. It’s easy to overlook some of those things, especially when you’re busy. But, when you make a commitment to making better choices and developing healthier habits, those actions will eventually become second nature.
Managing Your Mental Health
Unfortunately, mental health issues are quite common among college students. Some of the most prominent problems include:
- Mood disorders
- Eating disorders
College students are often under a lot of stress. It can be caused by everything from the pressure to do well in studies to social relationships. College is also the first time for many young adults that they have to worry about their financial situation. Some students may have to find a job on or off-campus in order to cover tuition costs, as well as room and board. Finding that work-life balance when you’re in school isn’t easy, and the stress can take a toll on your mental health.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to manage it, and keep your stress levels in check. First, prioritize your schedule. Try to stay as organized as possible, and write out your schedule so you’re taking care of important things first, without worrying too much about the things that don’t matter as much. When you can see a schedule in front of you and know what needs to be done, you’ll feel more in control.
Additionally, make sure you schedule time for self-care. That looks different for everyone. It could be a few minutes of meditation in the morning, a long walk around campus, or relaxing with your favorite book and a long bath in the evening. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something you truly enjoy.
It doesn’t have to be impossible to break the stereotypes of college students. You can stay healthy while you’re in school, and still enjoy every second of the collegiate experience. Keep these ideas in mind as you go through your college career, and you’ll develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
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