I’ve been done with my undergrad for a little over 4 months now, and I’m no hurry to go back to school any time soon. But, the recent back to school excitement on social media made me a little nostalgic and I spent some time this weekend thinking about my journey over the last 5 years.
When I first started university back in 2010, I was anything but healthy. Going away to university gave me a lot of new freedom and I definitely took advantage. I ate on all the processed foods, stayed out late, woke up late and basically bummed around all day, everyday. And, once winter rolled around, I sunk into seasonal depression and everything got ten times worse. Eventually, I crawled out of my pit of unhealthiness, but there are so many things I wish I had known when I started university, that helped me stay healthy in the following years.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Staying up all night partying, hanging out or pulling all nighters may seem like a rite of passage for all university students but it’s really just a one-way ticket to an unhealthy lifestyle. The best thing you can do for yourself if you want to stay healthy is to get enough sleep. Adults need a whopping 7 – 9 hours of sleep every day, which is a far cry from those 4-5 hours you’ve probably been existing on.
2. Eat Less Processed Foods
Eating processed foods and unhealthy foods – anything from McDonald’s to store bought cookies – is a surefire way to derail your goals to stay healthy. Step away from the fries and start eating real, whole foods. Even if you’re incessantly busy, there are many different way to eat healthy on the go or even at restaurants. You just need to put in a little extra work upfront.
3. Take your Vitamins
This one, surprisingly, can apply to both mental and physical health. That winter depression I mentioned earlier was from a lack of vitamin D. I did nothing about it in first year and suffered in silence. But it would have been ridiculously easy to take some Vitamin D and make unhappiness, if not disappear, then a lot easier to bear. So, go to your doctor, find out what vitamins you need and then take them. It’s such a simple thing that so many of us overlook, but it’s a pretty important if you want to stay healthy.
4. Get Organized
I am not an organized person by nature. My first instinct is to go with the flow and just let things happen. But, when I do that, my life gets out of hand and I end up doing absolutely nothing because I’m so overwhelmed. And the more nothing I do, the more overwhelmed I get. It’s a vicious cycle that’s really hard for me to break, so these days I try to avoid it at all costs. My morning routine plays a huge part in helping me get organized and stay healthy mentally, but the rest of the day is still a work in progress.
5. Smile Daily
Did you know that smiling lowers your heart rate and mitigates stress? Even when you’re faking it. A couple years ago I made a conscious decision smile every day and it definitely helps keep my spirits up. University is hard. There’s no way around that. So any little thing that keeps the pressure off and helps you stay healthy is worth trying. Even if it means grinning like an idiot when no one’s around.
Being happy and eating healthy are great places to start if you want to try to stay healthy, but eventually you’re gonna have to bite the bullet and get active. Figure out how much exercise you need every week and then do it, even if it’s just a 30 minute workout. Pencil it into your schedule, use apps on your phone, write it on your forehead or whatever else you need to get active. Because exercise is definitely a huge factor if you want to stay healthy while in school.
What about you?
- How do/did you stay healthy in university?
- What is the most important part of your health regimen?
- Any more tips to add?
Share in the comments below!