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All You Need to Know About The “Freshman 15” Syndrome

You might have heard of the “Freshman 15” syndrome. Most people are known to experience it during the first year of their college. Are you prepared for it?

What is the “Freshman 15” Syndrome?

Most people are observed to gain about fifteen pounds of weight during the first year of their college education owing to their eating habits. It may occur due to the sudden exposure to buffet-styled meals or the personal choice of trying out different junk and fattening cuisines. Nevertheless, the freshman 15 is one of the most dreaded aspects of getting into college.

Some people may experience an advanced version of “Freshman 15” – characterized by gaining more than fifteen pounds of weight. At this stage, the need to employ an effective remedy is highly stressed. On the other hand, those experiencing the lower side of this syndrome – gaining less than fifteen pounds of weight – are at a risk to progress to the advanced level unless an effective counter strategy is employed!

Why “Freshman 15”?

Different colleges have different meal options. Some may offer buffet-styled meals with multiple choices and virtually an endless reserve of food. This promotes binge eating on a frequent basis. You may overeat while making an attempt to try all delicacies – the combined effect of which is seen as fifteen pounds at the end of the year!

Another reason for this weight gain could be the nonexistence of a personal kitchen and/or caretaker. Since you cannot prepare your own food, you are left with no option but to depend on foods prepared by restaurants and/or other food outlets. The foods produced at such places are more often junk containing an alarmingly high amount of unnecessary fats and devoid of other important nutrients. Consequently, when you consume such foods, you tend to end up with fifteen additional pounds of weight you never volunteered for!

Battling the “Freshman 15” Syndrome!

There are a number of ways you can keep your diet under control and ensure you are getting the right foods in the right quantities. However, this usually requires you to make an additional effort. Unless you are willing to go out of your way in order to eat healthy, there is nothing in the world that can help you avoid the fifteen (or maybe twenty) pounds of additional weight!

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your health while on campus.

  • Analyze your food options critically: You need to bring out the detective in you and analyze everything that you consume. Evaluate whether it is good for your health or not before putting it in your mouth. Only then will you be able to avoid unhealthy options.
  • Regularize your meal times: Make sure you consume a healthy breakfast before entering your classes. Also, keep a specific time for your lunch and dinner. This will help you in battling hunger and therefore bad food choices.
  • Research: Conduct your own research on what is good for your health and what is not. If there is something falling in the shady area between health and illness, login to your computer and search about its nutritional value. You can do so for all foods that you consume. You will automatically find out which foods you should avoid and which ones contribute towards your health!
  • Seek Help! Most colleges have nutrition centers and nutritional experts that can help you regulate your food intake. Do not hesitate to approach them if you find yourself indecisive about your food choices. With their effort and your own dedication, you will be able to get your life onto a nutritious track. So you can keep off the weight and enjoy a fulfilling tenure on campus!

5 Tips to Help You Cope with Deadline Stress

Throughout the academic year, students have to put in a lot of hours studying, researching and writing papers and essays. With deadlines always looming in the horizon, it is often natural for students to get stressed and panic. The tips given below will help you plan your time wisely and cope with stress successfully:

1. Plan and prioritize

If you organize and plan well in advance, you will be able to avoid stressful situations. Know what needs to be done, calculate how long each task will take and factor in all non-coursework related tasks that require your attention. Knowing how to set priorities is a part of good organization. Make schedules and timetables that will allow you to keep track of your time effectively.

2. Recognize stress

Recognizing the symptoms of stress will allow you to do something about it quickly. Unless you recognize that there is a problem and acknowledge it, you won’t be able to deal with it. Serious stress can lead to depression and can have many recognizable symptoms like blurred vision, increased irritability, anxiety, poor appetite, tiredness and difficulty in sleeping. If you notice signs of stress, talk to a friend or a family member. Talking about issues is often enough to relieve tension.

3. Sleep

A good night’s sleep has many benefits. Sleep allows the body to rest and recovers itself. Sleeping at least 8 hours each night will allow you to feel refreshed so you can work on your essay or your thesis with renewed energy. Most students stay up all night to cram for exams or to finish their essays as the deadlines gets closer but sleep is one of the best ways to avoid stress during an academic year.

4. Exercise

Another excellent way to prevent stress is exercise. Exercising provides a stimulating effect and when combined with a healthy diet, it ensures that the body and mind are better equipped to deal with stress. With time constraints, students are often tempted to avoid exercise but it can be a mistake. With good organization and planning it is possible to easily balance work with exercise as well as relaxation.

5. Learn to enjoy your work

One of the main reasons why students often get stressed is because they do not dedicate enough time to themselves. Having fun is just as important as turning in papers before the deadline. Studying doesn’t always have to be serious. Students can still be creative to make their time at university interesting and fun. While it can be a lot of fun to read and learn new things, it is equally important to socialize and meet new people. Put in some time each week to make new friends, discover their thoughts and opinions and build relationships since it will ultimately put you at ease.

While these tips will help you cope with stress in most cases, when you feel overwhelmed it is best to seek medical advice. Most universities today offer counseling and support that you can take advantage of.

Stress Management Tips for College Students

College life can cause a lot of anxiety. Students are living away from home, perhaps for the first time, which entails new responsibilities and challenges. Personal relationships and studying for exams also cause stress.

Experiencing some anxiety in college is normal. After all, you are dealing with an entirely new environment. It is important to keep stress from mounting by practicing positive thinking and healthy habits. Here are seven stress-management tips for college students.

1. Monitor Yourself

Be alert to changes in how you feel and act, as they may indicate unhealthy stress levels. You may find yourself becoming excessively angry or irritated about relatively insignificant things.

Muscle tightness, headaches, and an upset stomach are possible signs of anxiety. Other indications include fatigue, and a sense of being bored all the time. If anxiety or panic attacks keep you up at night, you know you are stressed.

2. Think Positively

Perception is everything. How you process information determines how you feel. If you constantly tell yourself that you are going to fail, expect to fail. Relax, take deep breaths, and visualize positive outcomes. Focus on your strengths and abilities, rather than perceived shortcomings. Simplify problems by logically determining what you need to do, step by step.

You may want to take part in some sort of religious or spiritual practice. Perhaps you have religious beliefs that can provide support and guidance. Some students are helped by meditation or yoga. Find some way to achieve the proper frame of mind that will allow you to be confident and emotionally strong.

3. Eat Healthy Food

In college, your mother is not around to buy, cook, and serve nutritious meals. It is suddenly your responsibility to do the shopping and meal planning. To stay healthy emotionally, as well as physically, a balanced diet is crucial.

Make sure that, every day, you eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein. Try to consume more veggies than meat, choose baked rather than fried food, and opt for chicken instead of pork.

Control your consumption of sugar, salt, and saturated fats. Eating hamburgers, pizzas, and deep-fried snacks is to be expected in college. These foods are common in dorm rooms, at parties, and in bars. Just practice some restraint. Limit how much bad stuff you eat at a time, and don’t do it every day. Have at least one meal a day that contains the basic healthy food groups.

If you try to survive on food that does not provide the nutrition your body needs, it will catch up with you. Fatigue, muscle aches, a lack of energy, anxiety, depression, and illness may result.

Eating right in college can be a challenge because cooking in dorms is usually not allowed. Make sure you have healthy snacks, like nuts and fruit, in your room. When you go to the cafeteria, or eat out at a restaurant, order vegetables and whole grains along with the meat and cheese. Even pizzas can be fairly healthy, when they have whole-grain crusts and veggie toppings.

Do not neglect breakfast. Your body requires some fuel to start another busy day. You may feel that you don’t have time for a full, balanced meal in the morning. But it takes only a few minutes to eat a bowl of whole-grain cereal or granola, with fruit.

Drink water throughout the day, while limiting your intake of caffeine. Too much coffee or soda, and not enough water, can cause physical and emotional symptoms.

4. Get Some Exercise

If you are not accustomed to exercising, you might be surprised by how much better it makes a person feel. A brisk walk or jog, tennis match, bicycle ride, gym workout, or other physical activity is good for mind and body.

You will feel your energy, strength, and perhaps even confidence rise. Exercise maintains a healthy weight and tones muscles, while relieving stress and anxiety. It is one of the best things you can do to tune your body and clear your mind. All it takes is about 20 minutes a day. Include exercise as a part of your schedule.

5. Get Adequate Sleep

A lack of sleep, over time, leads to all sorts of problems. Anxiety can cause, or result from, insomnia. Most people require at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Sleep deprivation may result in fatigue, headaches, and depression. This makes it harder for college studies to study, perform well on tests, and foster relationships. If socializing or other activities prevent you from getting to bed early enough, schedule naps in the afternoons. Don’t consume caffeine or sugar before going to bed.

6. Take Breaks

The hectic pace of college life can leave you feeling anxious or stressed. Give yourself a break every day by finding a quiet place to be relaxed and alone. Go outside to appreciate nature and gain perspective on things that may be troubling you. Get away from academic pressures by socializing with friends and joining student clubs. Take part in sports and other recreational activities.

7. Reach Out to Others

You don’t have to face everything on your own. Other students are going through the same things you are, so share your feelings with your friends and roommates. You might be able to help one another find solutions, or at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you are not the only one experiencing difficulties.

Take advantage of other resources, like older students and your resident assistant. Have conversations with your parents and other adults whose advice you trust. Do not hesitate to visit with college counselors. That’s why they are there.

College is one of the most important times in your life. You have new experiences, make friends, learn new things, and grow into adulthood. All this can be a bit overwhelming, resulting in anxiety. You can control and manage the stress by following these tips.

Staying fit

Living on a student budget is no reason to forego your health and fitness level. Finding free fitness options can actually be a great way to create lifelong healthy habits, make new friends and relieve the regular stress associated with college life.

When beginning a new fitness routine, remember that you want something convenient and fun. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to move on to the next option.

Hit the local library

Check your college library for books and DVDs with fitness routines; and if you can’t find any you like, head to a nearby community library where they’re likely to have a good selection. The best part about using the library is that you can regularly change up your routine. You can make copies of routines you find in books and create a binder, alternating routines every few weeks. With DVDs, you can select a new one every week.

Head for the pavement

Running outside will always be free. Get a group of friends together and consider starting a running group so everyone stays motivated. You can run through your campus or find a local trail. Keep things interesting by selecting a new path or location each week. If you live by hills or mountains, try challenging yourself with uphill runs to mix things up.

Find your faves on YouTube

100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute! Using search terms like “dorm room workout” or “body weight exercises,” you’ll find some great routines that can be done in the comfort of your dorm room or outside. Subscribe to your favorite channels and keep your eyes peeled for fresh content. You could even consider making your own, which may increase your motivation and keep you excited about working out.

Find free workout websites

Similar to YouTube, there are now several fitness sites with videos that are completely free. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to sift through unrelated videos to get to what you want. If you enjoy yoga, try DoYogaWithMe.com. If you want to try out some new body weight exercise routines or interval training, try FitnessBlender.com. ToneItUp.com is geared towards women and provides new videos regularly as well.

There’s an app for that

The number of fitness apps grows every single day. If you have a smart phone, you can take advantage of free apps that provide interval timers, workouts, workout tracking and more. Checkout Workout Trainer, Nike Training Club and Daily Workouts Free to start. Or, just search keywords like “fitness,” “workout” and “exercise” to get started finding your own. Create a section on your phone just for these apps and try to rotate between them each time you exercise.

Start your own team or league

Many colleges have intramural sports teams but sometimes it costs to play. Start your own league or team with a group of friends. If you all work together, you can create flyers to hang on boards around campus, create a Facebook group, or even a free WordPress site to spread the word and keep track of interest.

Try it out

Many gyms and studios with fitness classes will let you come for one week free, or let you try one class for free. You may only get one week or one day, but depending on how many gyms and studios there are around you, it could take a while to use up all your freebies. This is also a great opportunity to figure out what you really like. Maybe a yoga class really appeals to you, or maybe you enjoy more dance or weight training. Once you figure out what kind of classes you like use that knowledge to find other free resources online or at the library as mentioned earlier.

If you have a little extra to spend

If you’re willing to spend a small amount of money, sign up with sites like GroupOn and Living Social which offer discounted passes to local studios. You can also purchase used fitness DVD’s online at Amazon and sell them back when you’re ready to try something new.  Last but not least, ask if your local rock climbing gym, yoga studio or golfing green offers student discounts.

There are plenty of opportunities for you to stay fit and have fun on a student budget. The most important thing is to do things you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try new things until you find your niche.

Eating Healthy on a College Budget

Between your studies, work and social life, you have little time for illness as a college student. But, you also have a limited budget to work with. Below you’ll find tips to keep you full and fueled without breaking the bank.

Buy in bulk

You can often find dried fruits, nuts and grains in bulk at the grocery store. Stock up on nuts and dried fruit to have for snacks between classes and use grains such as oats, rice and buckwheat for breakfast or as sides to lunch and dinner meals. Some fresh fruits and vegetables are regularly sold in one pound bags. Apples, onions, carrots and potatoes add more flavor for less calories and less money.

Buy in season

When you’re purchasing produce, use an online resource such as eattheseasons.com to find out what’s in season near you. When items are in season, they are abundant, and this drives the price down. If you have a freezer, you can stock up on some of your favorite foods.

Use the freezer

You can store more than produce in the freezer. When you find meals you like, make more servings at once and freeze the extras. You can let them thaw out during the day and heat them up when you get home in the evening.

Drink more water

Juices and sodas are expensive and many of them are just sugar bombs. Drink more water and try flavoring it with fresh fruit like lemons and berries.

Pack in the protein

Protein can be more expensive than other items but it will often keep you fuller for longer. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are more affordable than meat. Beans and dairy products like cheese and yogurt also provide protein at a lower cost.

Fill up on healthy fats

Did you know that healthy saturated fats actually benefit your brain? Foods like raw nuts, avocados, and coconut benefit your body by helping you absorb more nutrients and fueling your brain. They also help keep you full. Add them to meals or pack them as snacks.

Save with soup and stir fry

You can make a wide variety of soups and stir-frys without even following a recipe. All you need is broth, your favorite vegetables and some spices. Add beans, meats or quinoa to make it more filling and you have a simple and affordable meal. You can easily make several batches at once.

Make friends with grocery store employees

Speak with employees to learn when new shipments come in, when sales start and when items go on clearance. This is a great way to get meat for up to 50% off the original price. Many times, grocers will mark down meat on its freeze by date. You can go back to scoop it up that day and cook it that night or freeze for later.

Snacking between classes

If you are out on campus and only have vending machine options, look for roasted nuts, baked chips or crackers, instead of cookies and candy. A better option, however, is to plan ahead. If you have a meal plan, take an extra yogurt, a granola bar, or a piece of fruit before you leave for your first class. If you live off campus, pack snacks ahead of time. Trail mix, nuts, avocados, chopped veggies and fruits can all be eaten on the go.

Make it fun

Invite your friends over for a potluck rather than going out for dinner. Encourage each person to bring a homemade dish for everyone to share. Homemade doesn’t always mean healthy, but you’ll often find this to be a better and more affordable option than a big night out.

It’s easy to be tempted by late night cafes and cheap junk food, but a little extra work will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Be creative with your budget. Don’t be afraid to try new things and find the balance that works best for you.

Connecting on Campus: How to get Involved

College is one of the best places to make lifelong connections. Walking through campus the first few weeks can be a little overwhelming; but there are plenty of ways to get involved in your college community, all of which will make your big new world seem a little smaller and a lot more connected.

Join a Club

Sororities and fraternities aren’t the only groups making things happen on campus. Most universities have clubs for specific majors, which are a great way to network. If you need a little break from educational events, look for a club that fits your hobbies. Art or dance clubs, student health associations, and film clubs, are just a few things you might find.

Many universities have activity fairs the first few weeks of school. Check your university event calendar and try to attend if this is available to you. You’ll have the opportunity to see what clubs exist and you can usually speak to current members about what the club does.

Serve

See if there is a Circle K organization, or something similar, on your campus. Volunteer organizations are another way to meet people with a common interest. Local volunteer opportunities will help you become more familiar with the area your university is located in. Sometimes these organizations take weekend trips or travel for spring break volunteer projects as well.

Get a Job

Working on campus allows you to learn your way around and really feel like a part of something. You’ll build relationships with university staff members, which can be very beneficial in the future. Those relationships can also be helpful if you’re far away from home without any adult figures or role models in your life.

Depending on where you work, you may have the opportunity to regularly interact with other students. A bookstore or café employee will have the chance to meet and assist several students. You will also have the opportunity to build relationships with your co-workers.

Intramurals

Join a team, remain active and participate in a sport you enjoy. You’ll have a chance to bond with teammates and you’ll probably interact with other teams regularly as well.

Study Groups

Have you ever heard the saying, “Kill two birds with one stone”? Study groups are the perfect way to connect with others and still get some studying done. If there isn’t already a study group for a class you’re in, consider asking a few people if they’d like to start one. If you’re in a class that is required for your major, you’re likely to be in classes with many of the same people for the next four years.

Pave the Way

If you can’t find anything on campus that suits you, consider starting your own club. There will likely be some forms to fill out, but if you have a few friends that share a common interest, take the leap and begin spreading the word.

Getting involved in a current organization or starting your own will help build a network of friends, which is beneficial to your overall health as a college student. Connect with those who share your interests and make the most of your time together.

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