As a student, you might feel invincible, and why not? You’re young, you’re smart, and you’re about to enter yet another exciting phase of your life. What’s another round of drinks or yet another late night when you’ve got the rest of your life to catch up on sleep and eat kale? College students, take heed: You’re not invincible, and this extreme lifestyle is going to catch up with you sooner than you might think. Indeed, you could be about to make some rather rash decisions that are going to affect your health in years to come – and we’re not just talking about the dreaded Freshman 15. Put that punch bowl down for a moment and consider the following advice to help you to remain healthy for the next four years.

Things to look out for

Whether you’re hitting the library, pulling an all-nighter to get that essay finished, or heading to the next bar in your crawl, it’s probably safe to say that you have not been looking after yourself recently. We’re sure you had every intention of getting in some early nights, cutting back on the alcohol, and drinking more water when you started college, but the lifestyle catches up with the best of us. Here are just a handful of the issues that you may notice creeping up on you.

Anxiety, stress, and depression

It’s estimated that some 62 percent of students are currently affected by mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse. If you’re a student, there’s a chance you’ve experienced moments of stress or self-doubt at one time or another; it’s rare that the mountainous workload, endless deadlines, and peer pressures of the college lifestyle don’t affect students.

There’s a fine line between the blues and depression, so self-care is vital. If you find yourself feeling irritable or angry and you’re losing sleep and withdrawing from social circles, it’s time to take a break. No A-grade is worth compromising your wellbeing. We’d also recommend avoiding binge drinking and staying away from so-called study drugs; such habits can exacerbate your symptoms.

A bad diet

The student diet has become somewhat of a stereotype. When you’re living away from home for the first time, it can be tempting to survive on a diet of microwavable meals, toast, and fast food, washed down with liters of fizzy and caffeinated drinks. However, living on a high-fat, high-calorie diet could be doing more harm than you realize, whether you notice the symptoms now or later down the line.

Too many students are dismissive of serious health issues such as high cholesterol because they fail to realize how serious such disorders can be. The good news is that many of these issues are reversible. A simple lipid panel test, which requires up to 14 hours of fasting, could tell you quickly whether your diet is affecting your cholesterol and enable you to put the necessary changes in place.

Lack of sleep and exercise

Another common stereotype is that of the all-nighter. If the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” applies to you, there is a good chance you are – or have been – a student. Students are renowned for their late nights and lazy mornings and for spending their free time in a rather sedentary fashion. However, such a lifestyle could have serious implications later in life.

For example, did you know that sleep deprivation could reduce concentration, age your skin, increase your risk of depression, and even put you at risk of heart disease, a stroke, and high blood pressure? Laziness, meanwhile, could also put a strain on your mental wellbeing while leading to weight gain and a risk of heart attacks and diabetes. It’s time to put your head down for a snooze, ready to face the day again.

How to stay fit and healthy

It goes without saying that now is the perfect time to take charge of your diet and lifestyle; adopting healthy habits now will pay off in the future and help you ace those tests and make the most of the lectures you’ve definitely been attending since the start of the semester.

For starters, it’s time to take charge of the food you eat. Despite the stereotype, it is perfectly possible to eat healthily on a budget and when you’re short on time. Next, cut back on the amount of alcohol you’re drinking, the caffeine you’re consuming, and the cigarettes you’re smoking. Even in moderation, these kinds of vices can be harmful. You could also consider working out, whether that means joining the gym, walking to lectures rather than catching the bus, or running around your local neighborhood each evening. Take every opportunity to keep yourself active, and reward each paragraph you write with a healthy snack and a moment’s break.

Finally, get some sleep, and drink plenty of water to keep your concentration at its sharpest. Most experts agree that a solid eight hours of sleep is best, while two liters of water should ensure your body is at its healthiest. We have plenty of health tips to be found elsewhere on our site; have you discovered them yet?

Whether you’ve just started college, are entering your second year, or are set to graduate next summer, it’s never too late to take control of your health and wellbeing. As a student, it’s easy to get caught up in a fantastic new social life or whirlwind of lectures and study sessions. However, those late nights, last pints, and burgers are going to catch up with you eventually if you don’t take charge now. Being mindful doesn’t mean forgoing fun, but it does mean you’ll keep a wealth of health problems at bay – for the time being, at least.

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