Being a college student is no picnic. Most of us couldn’t wait for high school to end and spread our wings far from where we grew up so we can meet new people and experience new things. We just weren’t aware that freedom came with a heavy price. Don’t get me wrong. Student life can be a great deal of fun. There are no parents to monitor your ‘extra-curricular’ activities. You get to live your life as you want to. You get to devote your time to your passions and interests. You can learn to write sonnets, write code, or play sports. You get to meet people from different places and those with different ideas. You also get to experience a lot of new things.
So what makes student life hard? For one, the most important thing that we always forget about finally becoming independent is that YOU ARE INDEPENDENT. This means that your dirty clothes don’t magically disappear from your room then come back fresh and clean. It also means that home-cooked meals are a thing of the past. You’ll also experience living on a tight budget where you learn how to find the cheapest books, meals, and coffee. The absence of restrictions may mean being able to party all night and skip classes the next day. But it also means that no one is going to look out for you except you.
Aside from the price you pay for freedom, you also have to deal with actually going to college. You’ll need to deal with heavy course loads, stressful teachers, exams, term papers, etc. You’ll also eventually need to deal with internships and part-time jobs (student loans, remember?). In addition, part of going to college is living in a dorm which will mean roommates and absolutely zero privacy. All of these place an additional toll to what you’re already dealing with.
Since it’s already been established that student life is like a roller coaster – having its ups and downs – it is therefore important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle to enable you to deal with everything that is happening to you. Yes, this means eating healthy whenever you can and getting the right amount of exercise. It also means giving your body enough time to recuperate from the many demands that you are putting it through. In case you have no idea how to go about setting up a healthy lifestyle (without having to ask your parents), below are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of student life – more ups than downs.
4 Tips to Living a Healthy Student Life:
Maintain a healthy diet. Yes, this is the same advice your parents have tried drilling into your head since you were born. And it’s still good advice. You’ll need all the energy you can get so skipping meals isn’t going to help you any. You’ll just end up feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate when you need it the most. In addition, stress is hard on your body. You’ll need proper nutrition to ensure you won’t get sick during your stay in college. Get loads of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Milk is a good choice. It’s packed with calcium, protein, and vitamins. Don’t like cow’s milk? Try one of the healthier alternatives such as almond milk. Almond milk is actually perfect for students because it has nutrients that are important in the production of energy such as manganese and riboflavin. It’s low on calories and fats so you don’t have to worry about gaining weight when you consume it (some say almond milk can even help you lose weight). And almond milk comes in different flavors so you can choose what taste suits you best. You’ll also need to load up on fruits and veggies as much as you can. What you’ll need to keep in mind at all times is to feed yourself properly (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and small snacks) every single day.
Get enough sleep. As tempting as it is to stay up all night partying or gabbing with your new friends, not getting the required 7-8 hours of restful sleep will not do you any good. You’ll be grouchy and sluggish the next day. Our ability to think and learn is also negatively affected. In addition, lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to viruses. While there will certainly be times when an all-nighter is imperative, keep in mind that productivity usually decreases for most people once the clock strikes midnight. Of course, lack of sleep also affects your physical appearance. And who would want to look bad (think big, dark bags under your eyes) in a college?
Create a schedule. While it feels great to finally follow your own sense of time – no more schedule for sleeping, eating, or partying – you won’t think so when you find yourself always rushing from one place to another or unable to do something you wanted simply because you didn’t plan your days. Whether it’s running across campus because you overslept or rushing to complete your assignment because you forgot to pencil in some time to finish it, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed, stressed, and possibly frustrated. To optimize the use of your time, try putting your life into order. Chaos is overrated, after all. With a schedule to follow, you’ll find yourself “de-stressed” and able to accomplish more.
Get some daily exercise. It’s true that there will be times when you’ll be running around campus because of one reason or other. But a lot of the time, you’ll be sitting in front of your laptop, sitting inside a classroom, sitting in the library, or sitting in a bar. With pretty much everything available online, you might never find yourself doing anything but sitting. However, our bodies weren’t designed to sit for long periods of time. Without exercise, you might find yourself losing the battle of the bulge. More importantly, regular exercise greatly improves a student’s life in many ways. You’ll be able to sleep better and feel less stressed. The latter occurs because endorphins (natural stress fighters) are released whenever you exercise. In addition, exercise boosts your immune system and your academic performance. Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise don’t get sick often. With exercise, your body’s circulation also improves which means more oxygen travels to your brain, enabling you to be more effective when performing mental activities.
Though these tips are pieces of advice you probably heard from your parents all the time before you went off to college, they still bear repeating AND following. Remember, a healthy lifestyle will ensure that you get the most out of your college education and enjoy the heck out of your student life.