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Establishing Healthy Habits in College
As August comes to an end, the Fall semester is just beginning. Some of you may be moving off to college for the first time, or like me, back for yet another year of some of the best years of our life. Often in college, personal health and wellness is pushed to the side as you attempt to juggle work, exams, school and a social life. Excessive alcohol consumption, bad sleep patterns, stress and lots of fast food are some habits that students can easily pick up in college. For a lot of us, time becomes limited and without proper planning you might find yourself doing some of these things. I’m here to hit you with a fact: the freshman 15 is a real thing y’all! However, you can easily avoid it if you put a little bit of planning into your week.
I am going to share with you some tips and advice on a fool proof way to ensure that you are sticking to your healthy habits and avoiding that oh so dreaded freshman 15.
#1: Time Management
By far the #1 most important thing you need to do is invest in a big planner! I have a notebook sized planner and it’s awesome! Once you receive your class syllabuses go through your planner and write down EVERY SINGLE DATE that is of importance. The days of exams, when assignments are due, when your finals are and any every date that you have been given, write it down! Next, add in any events into your planner such as meetings, work schedules and when your classes are. This will begin to fill up your planner but it will allow you to visualize and plan your days so much easier.
Each week on Sunday evening I sit down and go through my planner, and make a to do list of what I need to accomplish for the week. Once you have your schedule down, take a hard look at your schedule and find a place to write down 3-5 days of 45 minutes to an hour of time DEDICATED to hitting the gym or exercising. If you put your gym time into your calendar and designate a time in which you are going to go exercise, you are so much more likely to actually follow through with it!
#2: Get enough sleep
I know you are tempted to stay up all night with your friends, but your body needs time to heal and repair itself and it does that when you sleep. I would recommend shooting for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Using your planner mentioned earlier, you will know if you need to be studying for an exam in advance and can avoid pulling an all-nighter to finish work or an assignment. Additionally, you’re not going to be able to power through your academics and learning without proper rest.
#3: Eating Healthy
Okay, first things first, I know your budget can be tight in college, but there are ways to still ensure you are fueling yourself with the right kinds of food. If you are living off of a dining plan, go for the protein and veggies and salad, but skip out on the dessert and cookies. I know it’s hard, like really hard and makes you cry a little inside when all of your friends are eating the chocolate lava cake and your aren’t, but I promise you in time you won’t even realize it anymore! Stock your dorm room with healthy snacks instead of chips and candy, so you always have something to grab or take with you to snack on. If you have that healthy snack, you are much more inclined to eat it rather than pick up something unhealthy.
If you live off campus and are cooking your meals, I suggest you take a few minutes each week to plan out what you want to eat for the week and your shopping list. I will buy chicken in bulk and throw 1/3 of it into the crock pot for shredded chicken, throw another 1/3 into the oven and the other 1/3 onto the grill then cubed for salads. There are endless options of food that is super easy to make in a hurry, so there is no excuse to reach for something bad. Make ahead egg muffins are something I make all the time for a quick breakfast to throw in the microwave so I can eat it on my drive to class.
#4: Finding time to exercise
Well, you should have it planned in your planner when you are going to go exercise. Hit the gym, go for a run, walk your dog, climb a mountain, explore a new park, or play a sport there are ENDLESS options to getting up and moving. Do not let yourself skip your exercising no matter how much you want too. I can guarantee that you will never regret a workout, but you may regret a workout you missed.
I know alcohol is definitely not healthy, but in college it seems like mostly everyone has a few drinks every now and again. If you choose not to drink that is great, I very rarely drink as I work too hard in the gym to mess up what I have worked so hard for. However, if you do decided to drink, I thought I would include a few pointers on how to drink but not completely drown yourself in calories.
Better alcohol choices
Vodka: Mix with sparkling water or zero calorie sprite and limes
Tequila: Mix with club soda, and lime juice
Bacardi: Mix with diet coke or coke zero and a lime
The worst alcohol choices
Drink mixers: fruit juices, soda
Anything frozen I guarantee is loaded with sugar
Redbull: Please. Just no.
With that being said, it is best to limit your alcohol consumption if you are trying to be conscious of your health. Alcohol is not good for your body, so stick to social drinking rather than drowning yourself in the entire box of wine(because who can afford bottles, we are broke college kids).
I really hope that these tips may help you with staying healthy even while you are in college! If you ever need any help or advice, go check out my social media and message me, I am always open to helping people!
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