This guest post by student wellness expert Alyssa Abel was added to our publishing queue more than a month ago, before the advent of the coronavirus COVID19 in the United States. Now, with many colleges and universities moving to online classes and scaling back on-campus operations, these tips for maintaining student health and wellness are more important than ever.
If Alyssa were writing this article today, a message to take precautions and follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control for guarding against the coronavirus would no doubt be at the top of her list. Whether you or your student are currently staying in a college dorm or now learning from home, physical health and well-being must be the top priority for all of us at this time.
Please stay safe and take care of yourself and those who are close to you.
Editor in Chief
College is a memorable time in young peoples’ lives when they can move away from home and practice true independence. While student life can be an amazing experience, it comes with its challenges, as well. Our mental and physical health may suffer, which is why it’s necessary to implement beneficial habits.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you thrive in this new environment.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Whether you’re a freshman with a meal plan or a senior who shops at the grocery store, what you eat matters. Without parental figures to guide you, it’s far too easy to grab a plate of chicken nuggets and fries every night. That’s fine every once in a while, but proper nutrition is essential. In the same vein, try to limit your intake of alcohol and sugary drinks.
Young adults need a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. With these foods, you’ll have the proper energy and mental clarity to power through a day of classes. Make this a priority so you can function at your best.
Make Room for Passions
College is a full-time job. Between schoolwork, clubs, organizations, and other obligations, it’s tough to find a free moment. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop making space for personal projects, whether you love to write or conduct science experiments. Good student health is dependent upon these pursuits. Otherwise, you’ll likely find yourself stressed and unhappy.
You should always strive to keep up with your responsibilities. That said, try to achieve a balance for the sake of your mental health. Dedicate at least an hour a day to an activity that sparks joy and promotes self-discovery.
Physical fitness is so essential throughout these years. Walk to class as often as possible. If the commute is too far, ride a bike. Most universities offer free gyms and workout classes — take advantage of those opportunities when you can. Join an intermural sport on campus, or turn study breaks into a walk around the block. All these activities keep you healthy, both physically and mentally.
No matter how you want to remain active, be sure to make it a priority. You don’t have to put in an hour of powerlifting every night, but pay attention to your physical well-being as much as possible.
Know How to De-stress
Mental health needs to be a priority. School demands so much effort that it’s hard to ever feel at ease. However, finding that calm is necessary. During stressful moments, turn to peaceful actions. Meditate in the mornings before you head off to work or class. Turn on your favorite movie and decompress. Go to the golf course and hit a few balls. Whatever your preferred method of relaxation is, practice it frequently.
Self-care is vital for improving student health. Pursue actions that relieve you of bad feelings.
Get Enough Sleep
College students are notoriously sleep-deprived. Many only average around six hours a night — a few hours less than the recommended eight. Because course loads are so demanding, you must get enough rest. Set a goal to be in bed by a particular hour on the weekdays. Plan your assignment due dates accordingly. Doing so will help you make sure you complete everything on time.
The key to a successful university career is sleep. Those all-nighters every student talks about are not worth it unless you’re a master procrastinator. Keep your well-being in mind and try to get as much beauty rest as you can.
Spend Time With Friends
During this time, you’ll make lifelong friends. They’re in your classes, down the hall from your dorm room, and a part of your extracurriculars. No matter how you spend time with them, social interaction holds importance. Humans need to connect with others to maintain their mental well-being. It’s a fact of life that remains true in college. Catch an event on campus or grab a bite to eat — whatever the activity is, do it with others.
Student wellness relies on these moments. If you’ve traveled hours away from home to attend school, friends can make the experience more enjoyable.
Use Campus Resources
For some people, therapy is an off-putting subject. Often, though, it’s necessary to work with an expert to help you improve your health. Almost all college campuses have mental health resources for students to use. If you ever feel overwhelmed or sad, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Counselors and therapists can offer fantastic advice to make this experience more manageable for you.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Student life can be challenging. With hours of coursework and many sleepless nights, physical and mental wellness can suffer. Make each aspect of your health a priority during your time in school. Eat well, exercise often, and spend time with friends. All of this will help you become as healthy as possible so you can perform well — and look back later on positive college memories.
About the Author: With a passion for education and student lifestyle, writer and blogger Alyssa Abel makes it her mission to offer helpful, well-informed resources for students and teachers everywhere. Read more of her work on Syllabusy.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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