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Whether you’re still getting adjusted to your first year on campus or you’re prepping for your brand new college life, you may find that freshman year can be a bit of a whirlwind. Between new friends, homework, and an all new schedule to keep track of, your first step into adulting all on your own can sometimes drain you a bit. While health and wellness should always be a priority, you may need to spend a bit of extra attention on it in your first year of college.
While some of these health and wellness tips seem like common sense, you’d be surprised by what can happen when you start paying conscious attention to them and building them into your life. Between late night study sessions and hanging out with your amazing new friends, your health can sometimes take a backseat. But in order to lead a balanced college life, you need to take care of yourself. Here are a few ways you can do it.
1. Get on a Sleep Schedule
While going to bed and waking up at the same time each day may seem a bit rigid, there’s reason and logic behind it. While class schedules may vary and you might want to give yourself a bit extra time in bed on those weekend mornings, having a general sleep schedule helps to solidify the rhythms of your body. When your body gets into a natural rhythm, you can get enough sleep — and better quality sleep — much easier.
Rest is highly important for hard working students — and all people, really. Most adults require between seven and nine hours. By getting yourself on a reasonable schedule, you can ensure that you’ll get better rest.
2. Eat at Least One Healthy Meal Each Day
Nobody is demanding that you ditch the dining hall completely and live on salads and green juice. Comfort food is wonderful, and it’s important to have a bit of balance in your diet. However, eating one healthy meal a day is a reasonable goal that you can consistently stick to, and it’ll make you feel much better on a daily basis. You may even notice a physical change if you tend to be more of the junk food type.
Eating a healthy meal each day can even encourage you to learn a few easy cooking skills that you can take with you into the future. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazy, you can always just go for the healthy options in the dining hall.
3. Schedule Time for Self Care — And Stick to It!
Sometimes, self care can fall by the wayside, especially when you have a lot of homework and friends who live close by. It’s important to set boundaries, including boundaries around your personal time, and college is a great opportunity to practice setting them. In order to stick to the self care time you know you deserve, schedule it in like a true commitment — because really, it is one.
Practicing self care can be anything you want it to be — whether that’s making a healthy meal, taking some time to relax, or participating in a fun hobby you enjoy. Whatever it is, making the time for it in your schedule can help maintain your mental health and happiness throughout college.
4. Don’t Overwork Yourself
If you tend to be the kind of person who dives into your work head on and can be a bit of a perfectionist, it’s important not to let yourself go too far. There’s definitely such a thing as too much studying, and when you constantly forego necessary rest and relaxation in favor of work, your life can lose the healthy balance you need to succeed in school and life.
By balancing self care, sleep, your social life, and healthy fun, you can take the time you need away from schoolwork. Dedicating yourself is a good thing, but burnout certainly is not.
5. Find a Workout You Love
Keeping your physical body healthy does so much more than help you stay in shape. Working out on a regular basis releases endorphins that make you happier and can help improve your mental health. However, this doesn’t mean you need to become a star athlete overnight.
In order to keep up a sustainable practice of working out, all you need to do is find something you love. Whether it’s jogging, yoga, hiking, or anything else you may enjoy, finding something you truly enjoy can keep you in the practice.
Staying Healthy in College
Staying healthy isn’t about an all-or-nothing approach. Really, it’s about maintaining a balance and remembering to care for yourself in all the ways that count. When you do that, you’ll have a happier, healthier college experience, your freshman year and beyond.