College students today have everything they need and more at their fingertips. Hungry, but stuck in bed watching Netflix? There’s a delivery for that. Don’t want to walk to your friend’s place? There’s an Uber for that. And still, people wonder how college kids gain the freshman 15?
Yes, there are many temptations right on campus and even more as you venture outwards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay on top of your health. College is often regarded as one of the most stressful, confusing and exciting times in your life. So why not make the most of it? Here are five easy ways to stay physically and mentally healthy during these four years.
1. Walk everywhere
I might sound like a broken record saying this because many of you reading will automatically think, “I do walk everywhere!" While this might be somewhat true, many people take public transportation, have cars and get rides from others. Yes, if your campus is as big as mine (the University of Minnesota), walking to some of your classes, the restaurants on campus and friend’s places might not be time-efficient. But, if you can find the time (and energy) to walk to these locations for as long as the weather permits, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Walking is proven to be the best way to lose weight and it's simple as well as easy.
2. Eat at home
As hard as this one may be, the best way to stay healthy is to buy your own groceries and eat at home, rather than eating out. Now, while buying your own food is a great idea, you can’t buy frozen pizzas and ice cream and expect that to be healthier than eating at your nearby McDonald’s. Make sure to buy foods that will compliment a healthy lifestyle including fruits and veggies, assorted proteins and healthy fats. By doing this, you will save yourself the temptation of eating fast food because you will have food to come home to. Plus, it's easy to turn making dinner into a fun night with your roomies where you can all enjoy eating and preparing the food together.
3. Do mini exercises
Have a Pinterest? Get one; the site has thousands of small workouts that are easy to do anywhere. Waiting for your food to be done? Do some abs and squats while you’re waiting. Need a study break? The perfect stress reliever is exercise, so get off your seat and do jumping jacks or pushups. Doing small workouts like that is an easy and effective way to stay in shape and not feel like you’re even working out.
4. Get enough sleep
I am definitely someone who values a good night of rest. Getting enough sleep is crucial not only to how you will feel physically the next day, but also emotionally. Many studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to depression. Mental health is a crucial part of your overall well-being and is something that should not be overlooked. Allow yourself to get a good night of sleep, and if you have homework to finish, commit to waking up a bit earlier to finish it instead of staying up until 3 a.m.
5. Spend time alone
College can be overwhelming about 90 percent of the time, which is why a little alone time is good to keep sane while juggling school, a job, extracurriculars and so on. Spending just a little time alone each day can allow you to clear your mind, ultimately allowing you to think better if you have to study or do homework. Not only will it help with getting things done, but also if you are upset and need time to calm down. Taking some time alone will help you to rationalize a conflict you might have had that day or get over the bad grade you got on a test. A little time to yourself will allow for a healthy mind.
These are just a few ways to better your body and mind while keeping up with your crazy, busy schedule at school. As always, doing a traditional workout such as running or hopping on the stair stepper is a great way to improve your physical health. And there are plenty of other tactics for dealing with stress and other factors of school besides getting sleep and having some time to yourself. Do what feels right for you and makes you happiest, because in the end that's what matters most.