The semester has been in full swing for a while now. You’ve long since kissed the summer days of relaxation away in an exchange for long busy school days, and an even busier social calender. You’ve become overwhelmed and your daily mantra is that there is just not enough hours in the day. Something has got to give and most times that means replacing your once healthy habits with some not-so-good ones.
Now more than ever is when you could probably use a boost to make it through the semester. Luckily there are a couple of things that could pick you back up from those bad habits that you’ve begun to develop and get you back on track.
No more relying on energy drinks and caffeine to get you through the week. No more late night snacking or high-sugar/high-fat fast food alternatives, and no more long nights that just turn into lazy mornings. Remember to use some simple healthy tips and educate yourself on many of the helpful resources available at your school!
- Exercise – It is the easiest thing you can start to do, and the benefits are tremendous. Exercise can help to boost your immune system, get a good night’s sleep, boost your academic performance, and manage stress. It is also well-known that it helps to release endorphins, which can decrease appetite and reduce anxiety. Don’t forget to utilize your school’s fitness centers; they are open to all students. Many SUNY schools such as UAlbany, Potsdam and Binghamton, even offer group exercise classes (including Zumba, boot camp and cycling) free of charge for their undergraduates.
- Plan your time – Being healthy also includes managing your stress. Avoid procrastination and anxiety by planning ahead and staying up to date on everything you need to accomplish. Your school’s Advisement offices as well as the Office of Academic support are usually stocked with pre-made scheduler templates and calendar sheets you can utilize to better organize yourself.
- Sleep - All college students could use more sleep. It is not disposable and a well-rested body can prove to be a very valuable tool to get you through your day.
- Take a break – Working hard doesn’t mean you can’t step away for personal time. Relaxing helps you stay sane after a hard days work, so take the time to refocus. Schools always have study break activities going on, especially during finals. After working out your mind maybe it’s time to work out your body, even if it’s just a quick jog or game of basketball.
- Eat Right - It’s easy to snack on potato chips, cookies and take-out. Just remember high sugar and sodium foods don’t do anything good for your body. Instead of using this food to fuel your mind and body, you’ll feel sluggish. Schools have great healthy alternatives available. If you’re still unsure what’s best for you, speak with a dietitian or nutritionist for more information.
- Meditate - Sometimes you just need to focus on your mind and leave everything behind. Mind, body and soul work hand in hand to a healthier you. Join your school yoga and meditation club. They tend to host more sessions as finals begin. These can help teach you how to manage all of your anxieties.
- Drink water - High sugar, heavily caffeinated energy drinks can’t replace water. Water is necessary for your body to function properly. Instead of loading up on the bad stuff, go for water and avoid the sugar crash.
- Make sure to take your vitamins - With the amount of people constantly in and out of them, college lecture centers and dorm rooms can easily help spread illness around. Exercising at least three times a week can help keep you healthy and prevent illness from getting in the way of you and your good grades, but your need your vitamins. Vitamins are needed for the body to function properly. A proper healthy diet can provide you with the right variety of vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. If you’re a person on the go, try taking a multi-vitamin every day. And don’t forget about your vitamin C to help support the immune system.
- Breathe - Remember to always breathe if you begin to get to overwhelmed. If stress is getting to you, the school’s counseling center and advisement offices are great places in which you are free to voice your concerns especially around finals.
The smallest change to your lifestyle could help make the biggest difference in how your finish your semester. Just remember that living healthy is easier than you think. It’s about making one good decision that could lead to the next, and college campuses provide you with many tools and resources to accomplish that.
Photo: Hudson Valley Community College