5 ways to stay healthy in college
What words come to mind when you think about your life in college? Maybe the freshman 15, or stress, or getting acclimated, or making new friends. No matter how you think of it, college is definitely a huge adjustment, whether it be in terms of academics, social aspects, or finding who you are and what you like. When you’re tossed into this pool of unfamiliarity, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the mundane and unfortunately lose sight of your personal health and wellness. Coming from personal experience, at home I was the girl who went to yoga everyday and obsessed over kale smoothies- in college, I no longer have the luxury of finding time to work out every day or making smoothie concoctions with my beloved NutriBullet. However, that doesn’t mean I have to throw away being healthy altogether. Staying true to your goals and keeping your health in mind shouldn’t have to be challenging when you take the time to attend to it. Without further ado, here are 5 tips on staying healthy in college:
1. Balance is Key
No BS- it’s impossible to eat clean 100% of the time, especially when you’re constantly hungry or others around you have resorted to ordering pizza at 2 am. If you’re willing to hold yourself to a strict diet, by all means do so. If you’re willing to dive into that pizza at 2 am, no one is holding you back. Just remember it is up to you to make decisions about your own personal health. Yes, it is important to eat well-balanced meals and exercise. That has been and will continue to be drilled into our heads over and over. But sometimes, at the end of a stressful, long day, all you want to do is lounge around and eat comfort food- that is okay too once in a while. It’s not worth beating yourself up over one bad day if you’ve had 10 days of solid health before that and just need to indulge. Or even if you continue to have those so-called “bad days” and just can’t seem to break out of it, you WILL eventually bounce back.
2. Become Informed
A key aspect of staying true to health is being completely cognizant of what we are putting in our bodies. Here at Michigan, we have an app that tells us the nutrition content of everything they serve in the dining halls- I’d say this is definitely a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I know to steer clear of certain foods when I enter the dining halls, a curse because ignorance is bliss- who knew that “healthy” soup would have so much sodium in it? This applies beyond the dining halls too. A lot of snacks and packaged foods advertise “healthy” or “all-natural” on their products, but if you look at the ingredients in these snacks, you’d be appalled. Most readily available snacks have tons of refined sugars and artificial ingredients in them- just when you a need a boost in the midst of studying, you’re bound to crash if you eat these snacks. Try snacking on fruits, nuts, or even vegetables with hummus instead- they’re guilt free and provide more benefits than simply being something to snack on.
3. Get Motivated
Having a stressful day and need to blow off some steam? Or are you feeling all around lazy and sluggish and need to boost your energy? Sometimes going to the gym can feel like such a schlep or inconvenience, but even if you run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, I guarantee the endorphins will kick in and you will feel considerably better and more refreshed. Finding a gym buddy doesn’t hurt either- when you have another person motivating you to go work out, you’re bound to have fun and strike up conversation all while getting exercise! This doesn’t only apply to going to the gym: invite a friend on a long walk or set personal fitness goals. Either way, you have some source of motivation.
4. Try Something New
College is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the uncomfortable and the unknown- you never know what you may end up liking at the end of the day. So many college towns offer different ways to stay fit, whether it be through student discounted gym memberships, hot yoga, cycling, or barre, just to name a few- it’s never a bad move to try a new, challenging workout. Or for that matter, why not expand your taste horizons? A lot of people are skeptical to try cold pressed juices or vegan food or ANY type of healthy food because they don’t think it tastes good. Evidently, they’d be shocked to find out they can find countless tasty, yet healthy options around them. By trying something completely new, you’re not only broadening your outlook on health and wellness, but you’re also setting yourself up to have newfound interests, goals, or passions.
5. Remember to Focus on Yourself
At the end of the day, you’re the one taking care of your body and making decisions that will either benefit or hinder your personal wellbeing. It’s hard not to get caught up in all of the commotion that college entails- stress is inevitable. People cope with stress in their own ways, but it’s vital to find something that will combat stress all while promoting positivity. If you can take time for self-reflection or simply time to recharge, do just that. Meditate. Detox. Eat your superfoods. Focus on what makes you happy and try not to sweat the small stuff. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded, and caring people (The Beatles weren’t lying when they said we get by with a little help from our friends). Do what you feel you need to do to become the best version of yourself!!!!