Back-to-School Balance for College Students

College life is a transitional period for many students. Between moving away from home, late night food delivery and a hectic class schedule, it is far too easy for college students to not maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creating a balanced college experience will help you develop habits that will continue through your post-grad life. Use these simple, manageable wellness tips to maintain your health in college!

Diet

  • Be aware of portion sizes. This can be especially difficult in all you can eat dining facilities. Be mindful of how much you are putting on your plate to avoid weight gain in college.
  • Be prepared with healthy snacks. Grab a piece of fruit or pre-portioned nuts when you leave for a busy day. This will prevent reaching for unhealthy options when hunger hits.
  • Drink water. Don’t mistake thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated will keep you focused. Get in the habit of bringing a reusable water bottle to class with you.

Exercise

  • Walk or ride your bike to class. Skip the public transportation and opt for a chance to fit in a few extra minutes of exercise between classes.
  • Find a gym buddy. You will be less likely to skip a workout when a friend is counting on you to show up. Plus, exercising together makes a workout more fun and motivating.
  • Attend group fitness classes. Find out what’s offered on campus. It’s a great way to make new friends – plus, you’ll get in a great workout!

Sleep

  • Get a full night’s rest whenever possible. Everyone has different needs, but aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure you have enough energy to get through your busy day.
  • Don’t work in bed. Keep your work and sleep place separate. Having a designated work spot will help reduce insomnia. Limit distractions by removing laptops, cellphone and other electronics from your sleep area.
  • Develop a sleep routine. Get your body used to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. Make sure you discuss desired bedtimes with roommates.

Stress

  • Don’t fight stress by eating. Snacking when you’re not really hungry won’t help. Instead, go for a walk, listen to music or meditate to manage stress levels.
  • Create a routine. You’ll be able to fit more activities into your day when you schedule studying, working out and sleeping at specific times.
  • Give yourself a break. College doesn’t have to be all work, no play. Manage your time to complete assignments but also give your mind some time off. Go outside for a brisk walk and you’ll come back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle that paper! Be sure to leave time for fun and relaxation in your routine as well.
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Chelsea Yates, Campus Dietitian, Southern Maine Community College.

 

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