It wasn't until I went back home this winter vacation did I realize how good I had it in high school. Being from an Asian-American family, I'm partial to the home-cooked scents of beef noodle soup, steamed buns and fresh bok choy- at home, I gladly reunited with the foods that reminded me so much of my childhood. However, it was not until I went home this past break did I realize how the food I ate affected me.
Personally, I always catch myself feeling exhausted at school: whether it is during the day, in class or when I crawl into bed at night- I always find myself saying to people "I'm so tired". It's true that there are long nights of studying and days where I am continuously running around, but looking back it diminishes my time commitments compared to high school. Going to school at 7:00AM, athletics straight after school going until 6PM, eating dinner and then starting all my homework for the day- 3 classes a day in college seems like nothing in comparison. That leads me to constantly wonder, why am I so tired?
Going home this past winter, I was extremely busy. I was way less stressed, true, but I was working at the fim I had interned at this past summer and I was also teaching yoga classes everyday. However, I powered through each day with energy and excitement, and often didn't feel tired throughout the day. I felt like if I did the same thing at school, I would barely be able to wake up in the morning. I came to the realization that the food I was eating made a huge difference in my energy levels. At home, the food I was eating was fresh and home-cooked, I'm lucky enough to have a mother that is amazing at cooking both American and Chinese cuisine who at every meal provides a variety of foods and vegetables, all fresh, healthy, and consistent.
At school, my eating habits are haphazard at best. My number of meals can range from 1-4, and oftentimes I eat whenever I can or whenever I feel like walking to the various dining halls around campus, and oftentimes I eat the first thing I find that looks vaguely appetizing. This has skewed toward the more unhealthy side, including foods like pizza, fries, flatbreads and pasta- while (sometimes) delicious, causes major blood sugar spikes and extreme tiredness throughout the day. Additionally, I constantly feel like I'm on the edge of being sick. What I've learned from these past months if that your eating habits have a huge impact on your energy levels and your health, and that keeping a consistent routine while making and creating healthy habits can make your life quality so much better.
Social pressures, long days and not having home cooked meals can derail your efforts in creating a better and healthier lifestyle, especially in college. However, keeping it in the front of your consciousness is the easiest way to make small changes without trying. By making health a priority, your quality of studying, your happiness, energy levels, and overall life satisfaction will increase. Self-care is near impossible in college, but making an active effort to be more conscientious about your nutrition is something small that can go a long way.