We all want to live long, happy lives; but the truth is that, as college students who are tremendously busy, we rarely take the necessary steps make that desire a reality. I never really realized just how real this problem is until very recently, when I went to the doctor and I found out that my health is subpar. I won't go into detail of what is up with my health, but I will say that it made me rethink my entire lifestyle. Hopefully, my wonderful readers will choose to learn from my mistakes and listen to the following advice that I've gotten from my doctors over the last few weeks. Please know that, before making any changes, you should always consult with your own doctor. In the end, you might find that something different might work best for you.
1. H2O Is The Way To Go
This very simple advice is incredibly important. While, yes, it sounds obvious, you would be surprised at the number of people that fail to drink enough water. Ideally, you should consume at least 64 ounces of water (2 liters). This is the amount of water your body needs so that your organs aren't suffering while trying to get through your everyday activities. This is especially true for people who live in a hot and/or dry climate. Dehydration is no joke.
2. Sleep Is Crucial
In an effort to always stay on top of school, extracurriculars and our social lives, college students sacrifice precious hours of sleep. This is a tremendous mistake. When you go to sleep, your body uses the rest time to regenerate and fix stuff that has gone wrong. Also, if you don't get enough sleep, you are more likely to be stressed and cranky. So, make sure to get at least seven hours of ZZZs in.
3. An Apple a Day...
If you want to have energy but despise coffee, this is a great way to get some energy quick and easy. I also find that eating an apple every day combined with drinking 64 ounces of water helps to regulate your stomach. Apples make for great snacks and are easy to carry around, which is perfect for college students.
4. Emphasizing Flexibility
Yoga, pilates, or just plain stretching are great ways to ease your body into feeling better. It helps with your posture, which in time helps with those typical aches and pains that we start feeling after sitting in class for a few hours. In fact, stretching is something that you should do as you get older, as it helps your ability to move as your hair turns white.
5. Let's Talk About Diets
I have for a long time been an advocate of not doing diets. Diets don't work and are actually quite terrible for you and your weight goals. Instead of counting calories, or doing this diet or that one, you should aim for a balanced meal. You should consider portion sizes, yes, but don't tell yourself not to eat a specific food. Be conscious of your body's needs and always make a point of having as many colors present in each meal as possible.
6. Veggies Are Your Best Friend
When it comes to veggies, there are two things to always keep in mind. The first thing is that dark, leafy greens should always be a part of your food. They are the best thing you can eat in terms of nurturing your body and giving it the energy it needs to pass that awful chemistry exam that you have coming up. The second thing to keep in mind is that portions still apply; that is, just because you are eating vegetables doesn't mean you get to eat them like there is no tomorrow. Excess of anything is not good.
7. Going Organic
Now, I am not telling you to never again buy food that is not organic; what I am telling you is that there are foods that you really should consider buying organic because it really is in your best interest. Examples of foods that I buy organic are avocados, carrots, all my berries, and my protein sources, which usually means grass-fed and antibiotic-free meat and antibiotic-free wild fish. I encourage you all to look into GMOs and organic versus conventional farming practices. Also, places like Winn-Dixie and Costco are making a point of offering affordable organic products.
8. Avoid Energy Drink At All Costs
I hope I didn't loose you with this one, but it has to be said. I can not stress just how damaging these drinks can be to you stomach. One of my very close friends developed and ulcer from drinking energy drinks during finals week. If you need a boost of energy while studying, go outdoors and eat some fruit or some high-protein food.
9. Take a Break
Rest and relaxation are things that young people, myself very much included, take for granted. Ideally, however, you should take time off a busy day to relax. It doesn't have to be a long break, just enough time for you to feel rested. A short walk under the sun does wonders.
10. Clean Out The Clutter
A messy room is a source of stress, believe it or not. One of the best advice I ever got from my psychologist was to declutter my room. For some reason, a tidy room leads to better sleeping patterns, or maybe it is just placebo effect; the thing is that, in the end, I slept like I baby for weeks after having a magazine-worthy room.