Tips to Stay Healthy This Semester

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Getting back into the groove of school can be challenging after winter break. You just spent a few weeks kicking back, enjoying the holidays, hanging out with friends without a care in the world. You’ve conquered finals! Nothing to worry about until new classes start! You earned a bit of relaxation.

Except now that break is over, you’re back in the real world: back to hectic schedules, walking across campus, and constantly braving the cold. The average undergrad student spends about 3 hours getting ready and walking to and from class. There’s hardly any time to focus on school work, let alone think about staying healthy — and I’m not talking about hitting the rec center.

We all get sick this time of year, but there’s a reason that college campuses get hit particularly hard. Freshmen, in particular, are vulnerable. It wouldn’t have been that bad to get sick over break — but now, just when you’re starting to get back into the swing of things? A bad cold can make it difficult to study, and bad flu can set you back a few weeks. How can you stay healthy this semester?

What Everyone Knows But Doesn’t Do

Stop it before it even starts … Diseases spread more during winter months because everyone holes up indoors. That means that all those communal surfaces have more germs than you’d think. The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. In order to prevent getting sick, follow some common sense advice!

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, regularly. If you live somewhere with cold, dry air, make sure to moisturize afterward.
  • Carry hand sanitizer for sticky situations. Many schools will give small containers out for free, so be on the lookout at career fairs and the like!
  • Don’t share straws, silverware, or pencils that have clearly been chewed on.
  • Don’t touch your mouth or face after spending time in class, the library, or any high-traffic area.
  • Get a flu shot. Most colleges offer these for free! Since this year’s flu season is going to be particularly bad, make sure you get yours.

Yeah, you might know all this already. This is just a friendly reminder to actually follow the advice this year.

Advanced Advice

Alright, those are the basics, but what else can you do to prevent from getting sick? Well, there are a couple of habits that make college students particularly vulnerable.

Are you getting enough sleep? And, no, in class doesn’t count. You probably need around 8 hours a night. That might sound like a dream, but without proper sleep your immune system is vulnerable. If you just can’t make it to 8 hours during the night, though, don’t be ashamed to take a nap. Better you lose a few hours of studying than a few days of class.

Naps can also lower your stress level, which is hugely helpful towards maintaining a healthy immune system. Make sure you are taking time to relax. Too many college students are too busy multitasking and resume-building that they work themselves to bed.

Be aware of your surroundings. This is one of the hardest things to monitor but by far the most helpful. Many college dorms are cramped spaces filled with as many people as possible. This is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to spread. If your roommate says they are not feeling well, stock up on antibacterial wipes and vitamin C!

Know When to Get Help

Too many college kids are so worried about saving money that they spread disease and get worse when they should’ve gone to the doctor. Your college probably has a clinic on campus, and they will work with you to cut down on the cost! There’s no reason you should continue to languish in misery when there are medications and treatments to help you get back on your feet.

If you’ve been sick for more than a couple days, consider that you might have something more serious. That sore throat might be strep — the differences between the flu and pneumonia aren’t as obvious as you’d think — and having a fever for multiple days is a definitely a cause for concern. If you’re worried that this could be something more, go to the doctor and encourage friends to do the same.

Staying healthy in college is more challenging than most people think. Between classes, work, and juggling a social life, you’re stressed enough as it is. This is just one more thing to think about. However, if you’re health lags behind, you can’t really juggle anything else. Staying in tip-top shape needs to be a priority this winter. So bundle up and use your head!

9 Tips on How to Eat Healthy in College

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

college-healthy-eating

You’ve probably heard of the Freshman 15 — the extra weight you put on from your first year in college. But it doesn’t have to be inevitable. You can stay healthy and eat right despite the cafeteria temptations and late night dining sessions. These tips can keep your health as much as a priority as your grades.

 

1. The Mini Fridge is Essential

Healthy means fresh, and fresh often means perishable. While many fruits and veggies can be stored elsewhere, you’ll want a fridge to keep nutritious leftovers, farm fresh milk and eggs, or even easy-to-cook chicken breasts.

 

2. Meal Plan in Advance

Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you mainly eat at the cafeteria. Today, most schools provide nutritional content with its food calendars so you can simply research and pick. Mark the choice on your phone or on a whiteboard in your dorm so you know exactly what you need to eat that day.

 

3. Lower Your Meal Plan

Speaking of cafeteria food, if you’re more concerned about eating primarily natural foods or learning to cook for yourself, having a mega meal plan is not going to help. If possible, keep your meal plan on the low to medium range of offerings so you are forced to depend on yourself.

 

4. Stash Whole Snacks

Believe it or not, but snacking is an essential part of eating well. Plan to eat 6-8 small meals per day instead of 3. Space them between classes or activities. But most importantly go shopping often so you have a wide range of choices. Some ideas include granola bars, fruit, and nuts.

 

5. Avoid Calorie-Heavy Drinks

That venti iced double mocha latte you’re addicted to isn’t helping you. Stick to water to help you feel full and refreshed all day long. If you want flavor, consider adding fruits and cucumber to a pitcher overnight or purchasing sugar-free additives.

 

6. Reprioritize Your Meals

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true! Breakfast is essential as it sets you off on the right foot (especially when you eat well) and keeps your energy up for class and gym session.

 

7. Concentrate on Size Rather than Calories

Calories are easy if you know what each value is. But knowing the correct size you’re eating is much harder. Some easy ways to remember portion size is to use your hand: your thumb is a tablespoon, your palm is about 3 oz worth of meat, your fist is 6-8 oz of a drink.

 

8. Use Free Nutrition Trackers

There are so many helpful, detailed, and free nutrition trackers out there, that it can be hard to choose one. Our advice is to go with the tracker that is simple to use on the go (mobile is best) and is easy to figure out for any new nutrition watcher.

 

9. Eat In With Friends

One of our biggest downfalls is going out frequently with friends. Late night pizza, delivered Chinese food, ice cream dates… those calories and bad choices add up so fast. You can change this by promising yourself to eating out only once a week (or less) and instead, cooking for or with friends. You’ll get the same social time while also showing off your healthy cooking skills. It’s a lifestyle change we can all get behind.