It’s crucial to take the best care of yourself, but it’s especially vital during your college years! You’re studying hard, don’t let yourself get run down.
Heading to college means you’re off on your own for potentially the first time as a young adult. It’s your first taste of independence, which comes with a lot of responsibility.
Above everything else, you’re responsible for taking care of yourself.
College is a whirlwind, but all those new experiences are no excuse for neglecting your health. Here are some of the things any college student can do to take better care of their health.
Get Enough Sleep
In case you didn’t know, you should be getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. Eight is even better. Anything less than that isn’t suitable for a young adult, especially one working their way through college.
Not getting enough sleep results in:
- Less Effective Immune System
- Getting Sick More Easily
- Higher Stress Levels
- Decreased Academic Performance
That’s why it’s crucial to get on a schedule and stick to it.
Make your room dark and cool, so you are comfortable enough to sleep. Stop using your devices an hour before bed to help your brain relax. And do something to wind down before bedtime.
With a better night’s sleep, you will do better in your classes and have your best chance of staying healthy.
Stay Active With Regular Exercise
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. It’s worth making the time for a workout in your busy college schedule.
Regular exercise offers so many benefits for your physical and mental health:
- Lowers Stress Levels
- Creates Endorphins
- Increases Energy Levels
- Helps You Sleep Better at Night
- Reduces Risk of Illness
- Boosts Self-Esteem
Take the time to go for walks, jogs, or runs around campus in your free time. Most campuses even have a gym that students can use for free!
The best time to exercise is first thing in the morning before you start any classes. It gives you energy for the day and keeps you from running out of time in the evening to get it done.
Watch What You Eat
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential even when it seems hard. Usually, the easiest snacks to take along are some of the most unhealthy. Don’t give in to the temptation to go the easy route!
Limit how much junk food you’re eating and take healthy snacks with you to class instead. You need to eat brain food to keep those grades up!
And don’t forget to drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is vital to your health.
It can be easy to forget to drink enough water when you’ve got so much else going on. Consider investing in a nice refillable water bottle that you can take along during your busy schedule.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Recent events have shown us just how important washing your hands is to our health. There’s no excuse to go without keeping your hands clean.
Wash your hands whenever you go to the bathroom, before preparing food, before eating, and after touching surfaces in public places. It’s also a good practice to wash your hands if you’ve been shaking hands with other people, just in case.
Since you’re likely doing a lot of running around, carry hand sanitizer to make the process faster.
Spend Time Out In the Sun
Sunlight is essential to your health, both physically and mentally. The main reason is that the sun is the best way to get the vitamin D your body needs.
Vitamin D does so many things for your health, including:
- Supporting the Immune System
- Strengthening Muscles and Bones
- Fighting Diseases
- Boosting Your Mood
Yet, just as much as the sun is good for you, it is also bad for you if it comes in direct contact with your skin. So make sure you wear sunscreen!
Take Plenty of Breaks
If you feel stuck while studying or start to get overwhelmed, take a break. Don’t continue to push through it — you’ll only stress yourself out more. And stress is never good for you.
Even a few minutes to take a deep breath or step away can help.
Taking breaks helps improve your focus and motivation to study. There’s no reason not to go ahead and incorporate them into your study schedule right away.
Make time for yourself.
Just because you have free time doesn’t mean you have to fill it with something. This is especially crucial if you feel stressed out or close to burning out. You’re not obligated to spend time with other people or take on extra work.
Get good at saying no when you just need time for yourself.
It doesn’t matter what you do. Watch a movie, work on a hobby, or pamper yourself. It’s important to take care of your own needs!
Practice Safe Sex
College is a time of exploration, and for many students, that includes engaging in sexual activities. It’s imperative to pay attention to sexual health while you’re in college.
This is one of those “better safe than sorry” things.
Use protection and be smart about choosing your partners. A lot of colleges have health services, which may include STI screenings. Know where and how to get them done and get yourself tested regularly.
Spend Time Socializing
Don’t isolate yourself and only focus on your schoolwork. That’s a surefire way to see a decline in your mental and emotional health.
Socializing is a crucial part of being human and something you should never ignore.
Some easy ways to get your social fix include:
- Carving out time in your schedule to hang out with friends
- Joining a club to meet new people
- Calling your family on a regular basis
All these things help lower your stress levels and boost your confidence, so you stay happy and healthy.
Ask for Help When You Need It
When you start feeling bad and can’t seem to pull yourself out of a slump, make sure you ask for help. Sometimes you can’t get through something all on your own, and that’s okay.
Don’t dismiss how much getting your feelings out in the open can help.
It can be as simple as talking things through with a loved one or seeking professional help from a counselor or therapist. Whatever you need to get back on your feet.
Remember to Check In
College is tough.
Between classes, clubs, work, and friends, it can be challenging to remember to take care of yourself.
Always check-in and see how you’re feeling on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Self-assessment is necessary to staying in tip-top shape.
Don’t push things aside for a “better time.” There will never be a better time than the present when it comes to your health.
I hate to break it to you, but your health won’t just wait around for you to finish your homework or get through midterms. The longer you ignore it, the harder it will be to get everything back on track.
Don’t leave things to fate and risk your well-being in the process.
These tips to take better care of your health in college are more than just suggestions. Make your health your number one priority, and everything else will fall in line.
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the conventional housing industry and works with The Proper on a daily basis to help them with their marketing efforts.