Becoming a college student is practically equivalent to adopting an entirely new lifestyle. Adjusting to the changes can be overwhelming at times, but there are many ways to cultivate healthy habits and stay centered while earning that awesome education. Here are some straightforward suggestions for focusing on what’s most important – you and your well being!
Prioritizing a Nutritious Diet
Everyone has heard of the “freshman fifteen” and the potential to gain several pounds within the first year of living on a college campus. While there’s nothing wrong with adding on a little weight, it can certainly be difficult to avoid the convenience (and deliciousness) of greasy dining hall foods like pizza, pasta, and chicken wings. You definitely don’t have substantial time outside of class to go grocery shopping, so how can you make sure you’re getting the right nutrients?
Start by supplementing your carb-heavy entree with a colorful combination of greens and other vegetables from the salad bar. Many dining halls these days have hearty vegetarian options that can help you to balance out the other high calorie meals. Finally, try creating a weekend ritual of a cooking party with housemates and friends! By going shopping together and dividing up the work, you can regularly enjoy a tasty home-cooked meal that suits your personal preferences.
Either way, do your best to not skip meals, no matter how busy you are. Running low on food energy will end up having serious consequences for your academic performance. If you find that you’re over- or under-eating, consider taking short walks on study breaks to distract yourself from snacking or get your appetite fired up again.
Maintaining a Sound Sleep Schedule
This one is going to sound impossible, but it isn’t. Getting enough sleep every night is one of the best habits you can establish for yourself. If it means sleeping in a little longer and spending less time choosing your daily outfit, then do it! If it means going out with friends less often on weekdays so you can turn in before midnight, by all means, do so. While there will be frequent occasions where you crash at the end of the day because of so many assignments, you can offset that exhaustion by taking afternoon naps and prioritizing rest on the weekends.
Even though there is constant activity around you, choosing to focus on your sleep patterns will allow you to enjoy all the fun much more when you’re out and about. Plus, you may begin to notice the benefits of mental clarity and efficiency when you’re not completely wiped from partying too late.
Minimizing Stress Levels
Burnout is real, and you certainly don’t want to be dealing with it before the end of a semester. Managing your stress as it arises – instead of procrastinating on the activities that nurture your self care – will give you the stamina that you need to ace all of your classes. Think about what brings you joy aside from your studies. Is it hiking, drawing, playing Sudoku, or practicing an instrument? Anything that brings you peace of mind and distance from your responsibilities is worth scheduling in.
If you are struggling in a serious way with the demands of college, do not hesitate to ask for help. Most of the time, your professors will make accommodations for you. Seek any mental health counseling services available to you on campus, and reach out to your friends for company and solace. It is perfectly okay to take time off if needed.
Balancing Socializing and Studying
How on earth are you supposed to be well rested, caught up on your homework, and be involved in social activities all at once, you ask? Well, it’s certainly a disorienting dance, but it’s feasible. First of all, be prepared to say no when you simply don’t have the capacity to go to yet another book club meeting or soccer game. Then, decide which groups and individuals are most important to you, and focus on forming close bonds within those relationships.
If you are the kind of person who can study in groups, get a bunch of your pals together at the library. Spend time with people outside, during meals, or in the evenings when you’re finished studying. Planning something exciting for spring break can also help you eliminate any anxiety around missing out on the good times. Ultimately, your education comes first, and you’ll be able to truly indulge in the bliss of social adventures when you know that you’ve put your best effort toward your course work.
As daunting as it may seem, forming healthy habits during college is absolutely attainable and wise. You will be able to look back on your memories fondly, without any angst or regret from letting stress take over. Go easy on yourself, seek support whenever necessary, and have a blast!