This is that time of the year when young people are transitioning. High-schoolers are flying the nest, college students are moving in and out of dorms, young graduates are setting their first “home”.
Research shows as young adults’ transition, independency increases and students are continuously challenged to make healthful food and lifestyle choices. Factors influencing unhealthy changes in habits include lack of time, convenience, peers eating habits, self-discipline, availability & prices of healthy options, lack of parental control etc.
Majority of college students increase their intake of junk food, reduce vegetables and fruit, often skip meals, remain sleep deprived. Poor food and lifestyle choices could be one of the reasons behind mental health becoming a critical issue on college campuses. More and more students are reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. While most college kids are aiming for good academic grades- grades in area of well-being start falling.
Whether you are heading to college in the coming weeks or graduating from one phase of life to another, these three essentials are worth investing in for your long term well-being.
1. Instant pot: this is more than your humble slow cooker. A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, and warmer all in one makes an instant pot a dorm essential. This is one pot you can cook almost anything from eggs, to cheese cake without a stove or an oven. With the delayed timer and auto switch off it saves a lot of time and eating you own cooked food can not only be healthier but will end up saving you money too. Cooking is a life skill and lack of space or time should not be a constraint.
2. Powerful blender: Between juggling classes, work, homework and extracurricular activities and groups on campus- it’s safe to say the average college student is extremely busy. Cooking a full meal sometimes is nearly impossible for a busy student. Though you can’t actually cook much in a blender, but blending smoothies and soups is an effective way of getting your daily vegetables and fruit servings. As schedules get packed breakfast becomes the most frequently skipped meal. Blending a breakfast smoothie with vegetable, fruit and protein can fuel you during your dash to the morning class.
3. Essential oil diffuser: This might seem a bit extravagant but creating your own sweet smelling haven helps reduce stress, and sleep better. There’s an overwhelming amount of research proving that stress is bad for your health. Sleep has long been known to have restorative properties and boost memory function. Oils can get rid of mold, boost immunity, create an environment for concentrated study sessions. Your room will smell wonderful without using candles at the risk of setting on the smoke alarm!
These are the years to not only invest time in your education, but also to invest in your well-being. According to Dr. Edward Phillips, founder and director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School “Two-thirds of all illness is the result of our lifestyle choices.”
Remember that wellness is not the absence of illness or stress. You can still strive for wellness even if you are busy and short on time. The benefits of the even small changes, such as sleeping better, eating more vegetables, not skipping meals can prevent college burnout and lay the cornerstone for lifelong well-being.
Downside: your home could become the preferred hangout among your peers with delicious healthy food options and incredible smelling living space!