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7 Health Tips for College Students

Stress, a poor diet, and partying are common to many students’ lifestyles. However, they are not conducive to good health. College-bound students leaving home for the first time are faced with making their own decisions about many things that affect their well-being. Here are some health tips to consider.

1. Eat a Balanced Diet

It should come as no surprise that eating right is at the top of the list of healthy behaviors. The adage “you are what you eat” is true. Your physical and mental resiliency depend upon your body receiving adequate nutrition.

Consuming foods with large amounts of sugar, salt, and saturated fats can compromise your immune system and lead to illness. It also can sap the energy you need to meet all your responsibilities. Your body requires nourishment to deal with the stresses of college life. Eating poorly can lead to obesity, sickness, fatigue, anxiety, and other undesirable conditions.

Most colleges and universities do not allow students to cook food in the dorms. However, you can keep your room stocked with snacks like fruit and nuts. This might help curb the temptation to order pizza or get fast food when you feel hungry.

Make good choices in the school’s cafeteria or dining hall. You have heard it a million times: Eat a balanced diet. That includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein. Make sure you have something from each food group every day. Ideally, the volume of vegetables in your diet should exceed that of meat.

This does not mean you have to survive on tofu and leafy vegetables, though you might be surprised by what you can do with such ingredients. Inevitably, you will eat some pizza, burgers, and fried bar snacks. These foods are linked to opportunities to make friends and socialize, which are important elements of the college experience. Practice moderation when enjoying junk food.

Be creative and find ways to eat your favorite foods in more healthy ways. Order whole-wheat tortillas and pizza crusts when they are available. Include vegetables in your pizza ingredients. Ask for low-fat white, rather than yellow, cheese; and choose chicken instead of beef or pork. Opt for baked, rather than fried, food.

Breakfast is important. You need an energy boost after many hours of not giving your body any fuel. Eat a bowl of healthy cereal or granola, or at least grab some fruit (and perhaps a whole-grain bagel) on the way out the door.

Drink water frequently, even if you are not thirsty. You may find that you feel better and eat less. Take it easy on the caffeine. While a little of this stimulant can be beneficial, consuming too much is counterproductive and potentially dangerous. The same is true of sodas and other beverages containing large amounts of sugar.

Your body needs a variety of nutrients, so don’t eat exactly the same foods every day. If you are trying to lose weight, be mindful of portion sizes but eat plenty of veggies and get enough protein. Never go on a crash diet. The weight you lose will probably return soon, and in the meantime you will have compromised your health.

2. Exercise

There are some other ways to ward off illness, boost energy, and stay in shape. One of the best methods is getting some exercise every day. Walking from your room to classes is not enough. Take longer walks, jog, ride a bicycle, go to a gym, or play a sport.

Between studying and socializing, you may not think you have time to exercise. All it takes is about 20 minutes every day, which is not that hard to fit into your schedule.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Many people do not appreciate the importance of sleep. You need to get at least seven hours of sleep per day. If you don’t, it will be harder to stay alert and focus on your studies.

Sleep deprivation may cause fatigue, headaches, and depression. Your relationships, as well as your grades, could suffer. If you are not getting enough sleep at night, try to take an afternoon nap. Avoid caffeine and sugar for at least a few hours before going to bed.

4. Take Precautions

College classes are in session during the winter, when the most illnesses occur. As a student, you are in close contact with numerous people. It is crucial to protect yourself from viruses and other infectious diseases.

Wash your hands often, especially after touching door knobs and other objects with which many people come in contact. This will keep you from catching most contagions. Get a flu shot, or choose an herbal alternative, to keep yourself from catching a bug. Obtain appropriate vaccinations. Take Vitamin C and antioxidants.

5. Cope with Stress

College life is stressful. Living away from home, dealing with new people, is hard enough. Studying and taking tests create additional anxiety. The college life challenges your mental, as well as physical, health.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are critical to managing stress. Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. Switch from studying to playing a game or watching a video. Gain some perspective and relax. Spend some time outdoors every day. Find balance by connecting with nature.

Compartmentalize the things that cause you stress. Figure out what you need to do, a step at a time. Set priorities and short-term, attainable goals. Try to transcend the anxiety and look at things logically. Remember that your fellow students are having the same problems. Share your feelings with them, as well as with other friends and family members. Try meditation, yoga, or a hobby. Do not hesitate to speak with a counselor.

6. Avoid Risky Behaviors

Many college-bound students are excited about their new experience for the wrong reasons. They may be looking forward to partying and having sex. They are at an age when experimentation is normal, but it is vital to know how to stay safe.

Parties featuring beer or liquor are common on, or near, most campuses. You are likely to find yourself at such a party. If you are of legal age and choose to drink, know your limit to ensure that you remain aware and in control. Have a designated driver.

Illegal drugs also may be available. The obvious advice is to refrain from taking them. If you do decide to experiment, understand the effects of the drugs and the risks involved. Remember that what you are doing is against the law, and may result in bad decisions and unwanted consequences.

Another part of the college experience is dating. Some students meet their life-long partners in school. It is easier to find people with common interests in college than it was in high school. Students who make the decision to have sex should use protection, get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases, and go to doctors for exams and vaccinations.

7. Other Tips

If you smoke tobacco, figure out a way to quit. Your performance in school, as well as your health, may benefit from doing so. Find healthy alternatives to nicotine to provide the stimulation you crave.

Support your feet by wearing good shoes rather than sandals. You are likely to be doing a lot of walking, going to classes and moving around campus. Do not let aching or injured feet slow you down.

Give your back a break by minimizing the weight of your backpack. You don’t have to carry all your books, all the time. Do some stretching before heading out on a long walk or beginning your daily exercise regimen.

Communicate your needs to roommates. Coordinate times for studying and sleeping. Maintaining good relations with your roomies also enhances your mental health.

Resist excessive tanning because of the risk of getting skin cancer. If you do lay out, use sunscreen. Daily applications of aloe vera or other moisturizer help prevent skin from burning or getting too dry.

These tips can help you maintain mental and physical health during your college years. By eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and managing stress, you get the most out of the experience. Your relationships and grades will benefit.

Stress Zone: 8 Tips on How to Master the Demon

In many areas of life, stress is inevitable. For college students this can be a major problem since many of them are not prepared for what they will face. College is a whole new ball game, with a much heavier workload and additional responsibilities. Many college students have to find jobs on or off campus. Going to work, attending classes regularly and turning assignments in on time can prove to be too much for some people.

Even college students who are not working can be overwhelmed by their studies. Scholarship students especially have a lot of pressure placed on them to maintain good grades. The harder some students work, the higher their stress level gets. At some point, stress can become a health risk, and it can even lead some people to contemplate suicide. The following tips can help college students beat stress:

Learn to go easy on yourself

This might seem simple, but it is an important way to avoid stress buildup. Missed deadlines can happen to anyone, so do not panic, and try not to be angry with yourself. Instead, learn from it and try to do better in the future. Failing an exam or getting a low grade is also no reason to beat up on yourself. When you do not perform as well as you wish, take it in stride and try to do better next time.

Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep is something that many college students can relate to as they work to achieve their goal. Adequate rest is essential for good health, especially mental health. Lack of sleep can affect our moods, making us irritable and prevent us from dealing with problems in the right way. People who get enough sleep are able to concentrate better in class and they are generally more relaxed.

Have a good diet

Many college students eat a lot of junk food because it is cheaper or sometimes more convenient. The brain needs the right amount of nutrients to function properly. Try to have fruits and vegetables every day, and take a multivitamin if necessary. Eating whole grain foods is also a good idea for the college student. A body that is properly fed is better at dealing with stressful situations.

Socialize

Hanging out with friends is a great way to deal with the pressure of being in college. Sometimes it is good to have fun and to not think about the things that are bothering you. Even studying together as a group can be a fun activity and helps to make the workload easier. You can also look for clubs on campus that will allow you to spend time with other people in a setting that has nothing to do with the classroom.

Talk to someone

If you feel like you are under too much stress, it helps if you share this with someone. This person can be a lecturer, a faculty advisor or even a close friend. Sometimes it is good to get problems off your chest by talking. Communicating with others can help you to feel better, resulting in you feeling less stressed.

Look at your workload

It is possible that you are taking more courses than you can handle. This is an easy way to fall into the stress trap. It is s good idea to look at the courses you are taking and dropping one or two to make your coursework more manageable. It may even be necessary to sit out a semester to give yourself time to recuperate and get back on track. The important thing is to ensure that doing this will not put your credits below the number that you need to graduate.

Spend some time alone

While being with friends can be good, sometimes distance from other people is just as beneficial. It is a good idea to be alone for a while just to relax or to think about the problems that make you feel stressed. You might even come up your own ideas to help you manage your stress.

Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise promotes good mental health. Vigorous exercise improves blood flow, and can help to improve your mood. Some people actually go to the gym to relieve stress. At many colleges, gym membership is free or very reasonably priced for students.

Some people meditate to help to clear their minds and leave their stress behind. Others start to take music lessons or a new sport. Whichever method is chosen, the goal is always the same; mastering the demon called stress. If you fail to control this problem, it could cause you to fail in college and prevent you from reaching your goals.

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.

Make the most of holidays at university

University is exhausting and most students want to do nothing more than sleep and party when they get the opportunity during the holidays. After frantically studying, finishing assignments and juggling with their extra-curricular activities throughout the year, the holidays are a welcome respite. However, this is also an excellent opportunity for students to extend themselves. Given below are a few suggestions that university students can consider to make the most of their holidays:

Think about your future

The holidays offer the perfect opportunity for students to think about their future and what they want to do in the long term. Think about whether you’re really enjoying your current course. If not, you can always learn more about what other opportunities are available. Think about graduate schemes or jobs that seem appealing. Consider traveling and studying abroad after graduation or as a part of your current course.

Travel

Once you start with your work life, you’ll rarely have the opportunity to simply sail off and explore a new destination at your own leisure. University life offers a lot of flexibility and time. For students, traveling offers a lot of value other than its social aspect. A well-traveled individual is well-rounded and worldlier. Traveling can teach students to be independent and provide them an understanding of different cultures. Employers too are more interested today in graduates that are well-traveled because it indicates that they are open to new experiences.

Internships

Holidays can make students complacent but to thrive in the competitive job market, students also need something special to stand apart from the competition. There are several paid and voluntary internship opportunities available in every industry today. For students, these opportunities can provide valuable work experience and can lead to a long term position with the organization in the future. Other than formal, advertised internships, students can also network and contact organizations directly to ask them about possible internships. Other than internships, students can also take up jobs during the holidays to save up some money and gain work experience.

Extra-curricular activities

University holidays offer students all the time they need to learn new skills. Broaden your horizons and try activities that stimulate and challenge you. Learn a new language, a new sport or even start a small scale business with friends. Extra-curricular activities will add some value to your resume and give you something to talk about during an interview. The experience can also teach you many valuable skills like innovation, communications, leadership and time management.

Study

Use the extra time during the holidays and study for upcoming assessments and exams. This is the perfect time to address some of your weaknesses and look at the feedback you’ve received from tutors throughout the year. Putting in some extra studying hours during the holidays can improve the quality of your work and essays. You can also read books unrelated to your coursework to extend your knowledge base. Challenge yourself and try to read books on topics that you may not be first drawn towards because these may prove to be quite valuable later on.

It is also essential for students to devote enough time for leisure and relaxation. Use the time wisely and productively so you can return back to university fully rejuvenated and excited to study.

Get your best rest by establishing a routine

Although it may not seem like it, you are still growing in college. Your body is changing while you’re undergoing new stressors like being away from home, studying more and participating in campus activities. For both your health and your grades, it’s important to create an evening routine and a regular sleep schedule.

Follow a schedule

One of the best ways to insure you get enough quality sleep is to try and maintain the same sleep schedule. If you regularly wake at 8 am for classes on Monday, try to maintain that same waking time throughout the school week. On the weekends, do your best to stick to a similar schedule. If you spend a late night out with friends, do your best to get back on schedule the following day.

Work it out

Establishing an exercise schedule has also been shown to improve sleep.  You don’t need to be a die-hard athlete to reap the benefits either. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour most days of the week. You can walk, dance, do yoga or perform a mix of cardio and strength training. It is best to fit in exercise in the morning or afternoon, as evening workouts can actually disrupt sleep.

Make good choices at the table

Deep fried and heavy foods can be more difficult for some people to digest. Focus on incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and avoid having a heavy dinner, as intense digestion can impair your ability to fall asleep. Sip on water throughout the day to remain hydrated.

Don’t be tempted to skip meals. When your schedule fills up, make sure you are still eating balanced meals consistently. Both overeating and undereating can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Let go of the electronics

Some studies indicate that the use of electronics before bed can cause sleep disorders. For this reason, it’s best to turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed. Replace this time with light reading, listening to calming music, enjoying a warm bath or meditating. Avoid loud noise and emotionally stimulating books or music. The idea is to begin to turn your brain off for the evening so it can prepare for sleep.

Create a sleep zone

It’s easy to eat, watch movies and surf the web in bed; but none of these habits will do anything to improve your sleep. Save your favorite activities for other areas of your living space and maintain that your bed is used only for sleep. This is a way of training your brain and body to associate your bed only with sleep.

Avoid caffeine

While it may be tempting to fill up on coffee and other caffeinated beverages to make it through a long day of classes, those same habits are likely creating a vicious cycle of poor sleep followed by tiring days. If you choose to include caffeine in your day, make it first thing in the morning so you’re more alert for classes. You’ll likely find that you have less trouble falling and staying asleep, and that you wake more refreshed.

Plan ahead

Don’t let deadlines wear you down and keep you up at night. The second you receive an assignment or notification about an upcoming exam, set time aside during the day or early evening to take care of business. If you give yourself plenty of time to prepare, you will decrease the number of late night study sessions and fall asleep with greater ease knowing that you’ve managed to take care of your work.

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