College is never easy. Students get overwhelmed by hundreds of assignments, local events, social life, and sometimes even work shifts. Juggling between tight deadlines, they often sacrifice the most important things — their health and well-being.
On the flip side, college is the perfect time to develop healthy habits that will accompany you for the rest of your life. All you have to do is to show some diligence and commitment. Here are five recommendations on how you can do it.
Choose in Favor of Healthy and Nutritious Food
When you maneuver from one pressing deadline to another, nutrition suffers the most. It’s not that you don’t have time to cook — you have no time to even consider cooking.
Often, students switch to pizza, unhealthy snacks, and other junk food they can get fast and consume on the job. This leads to loss of concentration, difficulties with retention, and a whole list of medical conditions occurring in the process.
But how can you eat clean when there’s no time for anything?
First, replace cookies, crackers, cakes, and other fatty and sugary snacks with healthier options. These may be salad leaves, carrot sticks, berries, sliced apples, or dry fruit and nuts. They won’t substitute a complete meal, but at least fuel your body with some fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Plus, you can chew them without getting distracted from your studies.
Also, pick water instead of sweet soda. While sweetened liquids might quench your thirst and boost your energy for the next jump in learning, they’re in fact invisible calories that only overdose you with sugar and make you gain weight.
Finally, stick to a healthy and highly nutritious diet that can fuel you with energy and keep you active and cheerful during the day. Cook your meals for a week or two ahead and just keep them in the freezer. Then, you’ll only have to unfreeze it in a microwave and eat it whenever you have a free minute.[Related: Managing Stress in Graduate Medical School]
Master Time Management to Avoid All-Nighters
Lack of sleep is a common problem for most college students. Tasks are many while time is limited, so nights seem the best period to get everything done.
But as much as with unhealthy nutrition, lack of sleep disturbs the normal functioning of the body, while chronic conditions may even lead to depression and hallucinations.
The best way to ensure seven to eight hours of regular night sleep is to master the art of time management. We bet there’s an hour or two in your tight schedule overlooked under piles of distractions you overindulge yourself with.
“First, I was hanging on my ex-boyfriend’s Instagram page, and then I had to pay someone to do your homework not to lag. I wish I used this time differently,” confided Melany, a second-year student from Massachusetts.
So review your schedule and be honest with how much time you actually need and where you spend it. Decide what can be delegated, postponed, or ignored, and then stick to it.
Learn to Love Exercising
The positive influence of exercising had been proven long before it became mainstream.
Besides being fun, it helps staying in shape, keeps you upbeat, prevents your body from rusting, and many other benefits including meeting new people and finding valuable contacts.
However, you don’t have to spend your time at the gym if you consider training with weights boring. Dozens of sports include teamwork and competition, and they can be both effective and entertaining. Play tennis, basketball, go dancing, you name it.
But if you prefer being alone, you may like yoga, jogging, stretching, or meditation, to name a few.
Embedding physical activity in your life isn’t hard when you find joy in it. Try different sports and activities; you may even take your friends with you. Eventually, you’ll find something cool and invigorating — so be attentive not to miss it.
[Related: Mental Health And Regular Exercise]
Pick Outdoor Activities Over Indoor
With so many indoor entertainments available today, it’s clear why students prefer staying at home playing video games, watching Netflix, or partying at the nearest fraternity or sorority house.
Unfortunately, by imprisoning themselves in four walls — especially in places with poor ventilation — students give a hard time to their immunity and risk having a lack of vitamin D, which is responsible for hundreds of metabolic processes.
Many studies have shown that being in nature improves skin color, strengthens immunity, helps reduce stress, and brings peace of mind. Therefore, give preference to outdoor activities. This may be a volleyball game with your friends, walking around the campus, studying in the yard, or even partying outside.
Whatever this is, you’re likely to appreciate green nature decorations far more than the dull walls of your room.
[Related: Influence of Nature on Mental Wellness]
Have an Active Social Life
Stay socially active. More than once, you will end up in stressful situations, and your friends, family, favorite professors, work colleagues, and perhaps even random acquaintances will help you overcome the challenges and believe in yourself again.
People make events, so an active social life is the guarantee of a rich college experience. Your friends can help you stick to a healthy lifestyle, give you support in hard times, or even help you with studying. But also, by staying socially active in college, you invest in your future and pave yourself the way to the job of your dream.
[Related: Eight Ways to Ease the Pain of Loneliness]
You don’t adopt a healthy lifestyle overnight. It requires a new way of thinking, consciousness, and some actions to succeed. Don’t try to force all the healthy habits into your life at once, but instead reach one small goal at a time. This way, you’ll manage to introduce new changes smoothly and embrace them for the rest of your life.