How to Be Happier & Healthier While in College [7 Ways]
College is an amazing experience. Make your collegiate years even better by taking excellent care of yourself. Here are seven tips for girls (or guys!).
While everyone’s college experience is different, college students sometimes tend to go a little wild. Some students adopt destructive behaviors, such as sleeping all day, eating junk food, and partying all night. Then again, some choose to hunker down in their dorms, study all day and put tons of pressure on themselves to succeed.
But it doesn’t have to be one way or the other.
There are ways to strike a balance and live a happy, healthy college lifestyle — and some won’t even cost you any money!
Here are seven affordable ways for college girls (and guys) to be happier and healthier in college.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.
And the best part about it?
The experts recommend that young adults get about eight hours of sleep per night.
Good sleeping habits help keep your immune system strong, making it easier for the body to fight off illnesses and diseases. Good sleep patterns also make your brain more focused so that you can concentrate on your schoolwork and have the energy to make time for fun.
2. Reach for a Healthy Snack
It can be really easy (and economical) to share a pizza with your roommates or spend a few dollars to fill up on fast food. But the more you focus on eating healthy, nutritious meals, the better you’ll feel.
Instead of eating out or ordering in quick meals, try to cook more in your dorm. It only costs a few dollars to bake a piece of chicken in the oven and steam a bag of broccoli in the microwave.
Resist the temptation to stock up on chips, popcorn, ice cream, and candy. Instead, head to the grocery store or a local farmer’s market and fill your snack table with fresh fruits and veggies. Healthy granola bars are also a good option (plus, they’re easy to stash in your bag and eat between classes).
Aside from what you eat, pay attention to what you drink. If possible, cut soda entirely and commit to only drinking water during the day. When you need coffee to give you a jolt of energy, make it an unsweetened one with no added sugar.
3. Hit the Gym
Every college has a gym or a rec center, and if you live on campus, you probably have free, around-the-clock access to those amenities.
Work in exercise everywhere you can. Hit the gym or sign up for a yoga class. Instead of taking the shuttle to class, walk to your lecture hall. Instead of sitting in your dorm room watching TV, go for a jog or a long walk around campus.
Exercise has lots of benefits, such as keeping you fit and in shape. But it also has an impact on your brain. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which make you feel happier. It also aids in creating better sleeping habits, boosting your immune system, and building higher self-esteem.
4. Put Yourself Out There
When we talk about being healthier, we’re not just talking about physical health. Mental health is equally as important.
Instead of staying cooped up in your dorm watching Netflix or studying all day, put yourself out there!
Get involved in activities on campus. Join clubs and organizations. Make time for social events. Go to academic lectures by guest speakers, take in a few sporting events, and attend cultural events on campus.
These are all great ways to make new friends and find new interests. Force yourself to be more social, and your college years can be the best time of your life.
5. Spend Time With Friends
Once you make some good friends, carve out some time to spend with them. While education is your priority, it’s also essential to have some downtime and fun time.
Spending time with friends will benefit your emotional health. Unwinding, relaxing, laughing, and socializing are all beneficial to your overall health and happiness. Plus, having a support system of friends you can talk to when you’re feeling stressed can help you get through those tough days.
6. Don’t Party Too Hard
Partying is a normal part of the college experience, but for some students, it’s the entire reason they choose to go to college far from home. It’s important to have fun, but you have to learn how to party responsibly.
That means no drug use and no excessive alcohol intake. That means staying hydrated (especially when you do drink) and making sure to fuel your body with a healthy meal before you head out for the night.
The occasional all-night party is fine — just don’t make it a habit. If you want to be happy and healthy, you have to make sleep a priority. And partying too much is a surefire way to derail good sleeping habits.
7. Take Breaks
Overloading yourself by working and studying 24/7 is the easiest way to destroy your health. You absolutely must give yourself permission to take breaks and take some time off.
Working constantly without taking breaks can have detrimental effects on your health. It can actually break your body down and induce more stress, which will only make you sleep less and feel even more stressed.
Carve time out every day to take some sort of break. That may mean spending time with friends, taking a short nap, going for a walk, or lounging on your bed reading a book. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and refreshed should be a priority that you work into your daily routine.
Want to be happier and healthier in college?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Choose healthy foods and snacks
- Find time to exercise
- Join clubs and enjoy social activities on campus
- Spend time with friends
- Keep your partying to a minimum
- Reward yourself with breaks and downtime
If you can put these practices into play, you will be happier and healthier while in college. And learning how to be happy and healthy in college can help you establish behaviors that will make you happy and healthy for life!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech Radford to help them with their online marketing.
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