College students in the U.S., it's time to freak out. Our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant Chipotle is under investigation for an outbreak of E. coli O26 infection in several states, says the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, a total of 45 people have been infected as of November 19th in these following states: California (2), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (13), and Washington (26). Of the people infected, 16 have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths reported. The stores in these states that were closed for investigation have been reopened, with the approval of the CDC and FDA. You might be thinking that these outbreaks don't apply to you, or that you aren't concerned because no outbreaks ave happened in your state, and you may be right. But, with the final exam season coming up, we need to take better care of our health, so do you really want to risk it?
It's important to stay healthy and aware of illness around us, especially if you live with other people—dorms are the prime contenders for airborne sicknesses to spread. And while E. coli isn't airborne, it does remind us that to stay healthy and we need to stay alert. There are certain measures that we can take to remain healthy, both physically and mentally, when we are stumbling through college.
Getting Enough Sleep
When we don't get enough sleep, we become moody, less productive, and more prone to illness. Sleep is an important aspect of our day and if we decide to skip it, the other events in our daily lives can become muddled. From personal experience, pulling all-nighters may seem worth it, but they just hurt us in the end. If you have an upcoming exam, make sure you do some studying throughout the week and not just the night before. Taking a test caught up on sleep really changes the way the mind works.
Do a little moving
As a self-proclaimed Netflix addict getting out to do a bit of exercise is something I really don't look forward to. I'm not saying that you have to go out and spend an hour at the gym everyday, but a bit of exercise is good for the soul. Whether it's convincing some friends to go jogging with you or spending 20 minutes walking to class—the best option in my opinion—go out and get moving.
Buy a refillable water bottle and continuously fill it up during the day. Ever since I started using a Brita bottle, I've been drinking more and more water, and my energy and skin have thanked me for it. Drinking lots of water helps flush out any infection that you might have contracted, and it can also help your concentration and keep you from overeating.
It's exam season, so it's okay to get a little stressed out, but you have to remember that our minds need breaks too. Watch Netflix, go out to dinner with friends, attend a campus event, or hell, even have a bit of safe sex. Relax, do something that makes you laugh, and then get back to studying. A break from stress is essential to living a healthy lifestyle.
Keep in touch with loved ones
College is hard, life is hard, but friends and family don't have to be. Call them, talk to them, rant to them. Get the crushing emotions out. And then you can continue with life.
Keep a healthy diet
Now, I'll admit that dining hall food isn't the best for you, but it is still possible for you to dine smart even when on a dining hall budget. Instead of going straight for the pizza, look at the gluten free section. Rather than eating the pasta, meander over to the sandwich and salad station once in a while. I'm not saying that you have to do this every time you go to the dining hall, but once in a while you should change up which foods you ingest.
Caffeine is a no-no
Your classes are a bore, so you go straight for the coffee pot. It's okay, I do too. Just like all-nighters, the caffeine fix is just temporary and in a few hours, you're going to crash. Keeping your energy level up can be done by eating healthy, so caffeine isn't really that necessary, plus caffeinated drinks are usually high in sugar.
Get a flu shot and stock up on vitamins
Keeping you immune system healthy is key to surviving through college without sick days. Take the flu shot, many places give them out for free, and make sure that you're not just eating junk. Get some multi-vitamins, yes they might be an investment, but they help in the long run.
Take some "Me time"
Sometimes we just need to alone time to help replenish our minds and bodies. Take yourself out on a movie or shopping date, kick back in your apartment and pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back in your dorm room and read a book. Turn off your phone for a few hours and just pretend that you're the last person on earth. Revitalize your mental health – it helps you get through the semester.