Between classes, exams, term papers and parties, the first thoughts of a college student aren’t usually making sure they maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, it is vital that you do as a 24/7 student life can put your immune system under pressure from all night reading for that forgotten deadline to the wild world of college parties. If you aren’t careful, then this college way of life can catch up with you by the end of term with burnout or college germs.
No one likes a long list, so here are 5 quick tips you can slot into your college routine immediately to make a big difference:
1 – Make healthy eating easy
It is very easy to slip into an unhealthy diet at college due to lack of time and budget. However, if you are living on Pop-Tarts and coffee you body and brain will not have the fuel it needs to be able to learn and you will end up feeling tired and lethargic.
Buy a Crockpot and check out the numerous online recipes for cheap but wholesome slow cooker meals. How about slow cooker beef tacos or ribs for sharing with your roomies? Or meatball sliders? Mac and Cheese? Brisket and beans? Or you can recreate your mom’s bolognese sauce. Just put the ingredients in the slow cooker before you leave for your classes and return to a home cooked smell in the evening. There are loads of recipies online that are perfect for students. Start off on the BBC ‘student meals’ section for some cheap and easy meals!
If you are eating from a student cafeteria it’s all about making the right choices. Make sure that you are getting a good mix of carbs, protein and fruit and veg when you load up your plate.
Include healthy snacks in your backpack if out all day – things like nuts to boost your brain power.
2 – Stay hydrated
College partying is a given, but make sure you stay hydrated to avoid hangovers. We will bust a myth – coffee will not help you sober up, nor will a cold shower or exercise. Don’t get to that place in the first instance. The beauty of the party red cup is that no one can see what you are drinking – make sure you down some water in between the tequilas.
Caffeine is a staple for students working through the night, but it can create havoc with your body – dehydrating you and ultimately making you feel more exhausted. Swap caffeinated drinks for caffeine-free. If you need to sip a hot drink as you study make it a Rooibos tea – you can drink as much of it as you want. You don’t even have to leave your desk for a fresh cup if you use a teapot warmer with tea light underneath.
3 – Swap smoking for vaping
Smoking is uncool and so bad for your health for numerous reasons. There is growing evidence that vaping can help people stop smoking. In the UK, the National Health Service promotes it as a way of giving up and members of British parliament are lobbying for a larger effort to be made to encourage vaping.
If you are craving cigarettes in a lecture and it is distracting you from studying, now is the time to give up. Vaping will help to manage your nicotine cravings.
You won’t get the full benefit from vaping unless you stop smoking cigarettes completely.
4 – Make working out social
Fitting an exercise routine into a collegiate schedule can be tricky, but working out three times a week should be possible in your university gym.
If a gym isn’t your thing, sign up to one of the numerous university sports clubs and make new friends at the same time. There are clubs there for everyone from rowing and football to yoga and climbing – and they will have great social events. Or if your friends aren’t the active types, why not connect to people through the numerous apps that there are challenging other users to beat cycling and running route times – a good one for this is the app Strava!
Check out social media as the clubs will most likely have an online presence too.
5 – Get plenty of rest
Yes, we are telling you to sleep! There should be no shame in napping. The suggested amount of sleep for college aged young people is 7-9 hours, however if you are out partying or working late at night you will most likely not be meeting that quota.
Make sure you take naps when you can. Invest in some good quality ear plugs and eye mask if your roomies are noisy.
Make your room a tranquil environment and somewhere you can rest. Bring a cosy blanket and pillows from home and invest in an essential oil burner and a lamp with a warm, soft light so that your room is somewhere you can switch off and chill.
Avoid pulling all-nighters, especially before an exam, as it is unlikely your tired brain will retain that information anyway. It’s always more beneficial to get a good night’s sleep.