Between attending classes, studying, writing reports, and making time to party, college can be super stressful. And for many students, it’s easy to fall into bad habits.
But if you want to get through your college years successfully, you’ll need to pay attention to your health. And that starts with creating good habits that encourage healthy behaviors.
Whether you’re a freshman or approaching graduation, here are seven health and wellness tips for college students.
1. Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Having a healthy mind and a healthy body starts with one thing: sleeping right.
Sleep is necessary to rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Without it, we simply can’t function properly.
If you put any of the tips on this list into practice, let it be this one. Get eight hours of sleep each night. Avoid late-night parties if you have to get up early in the morning. Study throughout the day so you can stop pulling all-nighters to cram for a test.
With good sleep habits come good study habits. And while studying, getting good grades, and graduating on time may be your main priorities, you also need to focus on sleep.
Even something as simple as taking naps throughout the day can boost your energy levels and make it easier to focus on what’s important.
2. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
What you put in your body directly affects how your body functions, so it’s crucial that you eat a healthy, balanced diet.
The most important thing is to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. It’s OK to have a few cups of coffee or soda throughout the day to give you a jolt of caffeine. Just make sure you mix it up by drinking plenty of water in between.
As a college student, it can be tempting to turn to pizza and fast food as quick, cheap meals. But it’s vital to eat protein-packed and nutrient-rich food, including fruits and veggies.
It’s fine to have the occasional candy bar but make sure that most of your meals and snacks are natural foods that are good for you.
3. Get in Regular Exercise
Whether you live on or off-campus, find the gym on your college campus, and use it! Working out even a few minutes a day can have a positive effect on your health.
Take advantage of all resources that your campus offers, such as swimming pools and free fitness classes. Join a team and play a sport. Find a running partner or work out with your roommates to make exercise more social and more fun.
4. Protect Yourself From Disease
Colds and viruses spread with ease on college campuses, mainly because people live in such close quarters. Do yourself (and your roommates) a favor by establishing some ground rules in your dorm.
Don’t share drinks with friends. Make sure you always have your own beverage, so you’re less likely to drink from a friend’s cup or straw.
Wash your hands frequently. This is still the best tool we have to lessen the spread of viruses and diseases.
Clean your dorm room and bathroom regularly. If you share your facilities with roommates or suitemates, create a schedule where everyone takes turns cleaning.
It’s also important to pay close attention to your sexual health. Take it seriously and make sure that you always use protection to prevent the spread of STIs.
5. Learn How to Reduce Stress
It’s natural to feel some amount of stress at certain points in your college career, but you need to manage it so that it doesn’t get out of hand.
One way to reduce stress is to establish a routine. Stick to a schedule. Learn time management skills to better handle your responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t overload yourself with too many commitments. It can be tempting to want to join every club and organization on campus. Yet, it’s best to pick one or two that you love, so you have time left over to focus on other things.
Another way to manage stress is to find time to enjoy your hobbies and do the things you love to do. You can’t spend all your time studying and partying!
If stress is a factor in your life, start practicing meditation or doing yoga. You can reduce your stress levels just by learning deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
6. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
It’s no secret that college students like to drink and party. But it’s crucial that you monitor your alcohol intake and keep it to a minimum as much as possible.
Try to get your FOMO under control and learn to resist the urge to go to a different party every night of the week. When you do socialize with alcohol, try to limit yourself to two or three drinks.
If you think that you’re struggling with your alcohol intake, seek out resources on campus that can help.
7. Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
Mental health is equally as important as physical health, so don’t ignore the signs that something may be wrong.
When you’re feeling anxious or depressed, ask for help. Find a professional on campus or seek out a student group that can provide support. Almost all college campuses have resources on-site for students struggling with mental health. Take advantage of them!
It’s also a good idea to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Having a support system by your side is often the best way to protect your mental health. Plus, those friends and relatives who know you well may be able to help you identify when you need to seek the help of a professional.
College is hectic, stressful, and overwhelming for many students, so keep in mind that you’re not alone — no matter what you’re going through.
By making these health and wellness tricks part of your regular routine, it will be easier to get through college. And, when you finally get that degree, you’ll already have established healthy habits to make you a happier, more productive adult.
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the students housing industry and works with Cottages at Tucson every day to help them with their marketing efforts.