Staying healthy is hard. Staying healthy in college is even harder. Between allnighters, seemingly unending access to junk food (late night pizza run, anyone?), and the occasional weekend alcohol binge, it is easy to forget everything our parents taught us growing up. Exercise, who? Vegetables? Don’t know her. Sleep? LOL. Then suddenly, it is November and you’re 15 pounds heavier, a lot stressed and a little depressed. Why wait until that point to start taking care of yourself?
That’s where we come in. In order to truly excel in school and in life, physical and mental health have to be priorities. A healthy body helps fight illness while a healthy mind helps cope with stress. So, here are six easy steps— brought to you by The Miami Hurricane— to keep you looking good, but more importantly, to keep you feeling good.
1. Eat breakfast
Being a college student myself, I know how precious sleep is. After a long night of studying, it is tempting to wake up ten minutes before class and run out the door, grabbing a cup of iced coffee on the way. While it seems miniscule, resisting that temptation can go a long way. Starting every morning with a high quality breakfast gives you the energy needed for a great day, along with improving your mood, memory and concentration levels.
Between classes and extracurriculars and jobs and a social life, having a clean room usually ranks pretty low on college students’ priority list. That needs to change. Aside from saving you the embarrassment when friends— or worse, your parents— come over, having a tidy room positively affects both your physical and mental health. A dirty room can be a breeding ground for disease, so dusting and taking out the trash every now-and-then can save you an expensive trip to the doctor. Additionally, clutter induces stress, and if there is one thing a college student does not need, it’s more stress.
3. Stay active
Going to the gym can be intimidating. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reap the benefits of exercise without long runs on the treadmill or olympic-style weightlifting. Small adjustments like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to class instead of hopping on the Hurry ‘Cane shuttle can increase energy levels, improve memory and mental health, and provide much needed “me” time. If you are looking for something more strenuous, taking exercise classes or joining one of UM’s many club sports are great ways to make sure you stay interested.
The occasional allnighter is inevitable, but do not make a habit of it. Proper sleep reduces stress and risk of depression and improves memory, concentration and productivity— all things essential to academic and personal success. Studying all night renders itself useless if you cannot focus on the exam the next day. Plus, you cannot give your best effort at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night. Remember, grades are important, but so is your physical and mental wellbeing.
5. Drink water
Humans need water to survive, and yet, many of us still do not drink nearly enough. Aside from the obvious benefits of weight loss and clearer skin, drinking plenty of water keeps the digestive system working and improves brain function. As if that is not convincing enough on its own, staying hydrated severely lowers the chances of being hungover after a night on the town.
6. Practice self care
More than anything, it is important to take care of yourself. Self care is more than a buzzword for social media. It is a necessity for everyone, especially young adults dealing with school, jobs and the everyday challenges that come with getting older. It can be as simple as planning a night out with friends or as serious as finally making that much needed, long overdue appointment with the therapist. Whatever it is, make sure it is all about you. If you’re short on ideas, check out “15 cheap, easy ways to be kind to yourself” for some guidance.