The best ways to stay healthy in college

The recently opened Smoothie King in the Lakeside Village has become one of the more popular food options for UM students.
The recently opened Smoothie King in the Lakeside Village has become one of the more popular food options for UM students. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

As another semester begins, students are figuring out their class schedules and getting back into a routine. With the excitement that the first week brings—and the hectic energy of a new semester—it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget to prioritize your physical and mental health.

Here are seven tips from The Miami Hurricane to help you feel great physically, mentally and emotionally.

Eat enough to keep yourself going

If you are a first-year student experiencing the freedom of college, it’s likely the first time no one is dictating your diet. Without home-cooked meals and parental guidance, its easy to overeat or rely on junk food. To avoid this trap, take advantage of various dining options on campus to ensure you get a variety of nutrients.

On the other hand, stress and a busy schedule can lead to skipped meals and unhealthy eating habits. To prevent not eating enough to fuel your body, ensure three well-rounded meals a day and keep snacks in your room for on-the-go.

Stay active.

While walking around campus is already a workout, there are many ways to stay active. For gym veterans, try switching up your routine to keep your exercises engaging!

For those who enjoy social activities, consider a fitness class at the Wellness Center or joining a UM club sports team. Even simple tasks like stretching or choosing stairs over the elevator can keep you moving and feeling better.

Sleep!

Maybe you ran on no sleep and Starbucks coffee in high school, but a few hours—or none at all— is no longer cool, let alone manageable. The occasional all-nighter or late night out is fine, but this habit will increase your risk for sickness, depression and even burnout. A regular sleep schedule will prevent these outcomes and improve mood, memory, productivity and concentration.

Keep your space clean.

Balancing college life can leave little room for anything else, including cleaning. However, clutter piles up quickly, and having a dirty room will only elevate stress. And with the pandemic still around, regular cleaning is a necessity to ward off germs and disease.

Prioritize self-care.

Schoolwork can take priority over everything else in your life, including your wellbeing. While self-care can look like a face mask or the gym, it can also be as simple as lounging around for a day or not responding to emails after a certain time. Whatever your personal interpretation, it’s important to designate time for yourself.

Listen to your body.

If something feels off, it probably is. And with the added complication of COVID-19, it’s difficult to discern between a cold or something more severe. To stay on the safe side, visit the Student Health and get tested to rule out that possibility.

This mindset applies in every aspect of your life. If you feel pain anywhere, avoid overworking that area. If you feel tired, quit studying and rest. If you’re stressed or overwhelmed, schedule a therapy appointment or call a friend.

Your body will thank you for it.