Four Actions College Students Can Take to Maintain Health and Wellness

Noah Myers, student, University of Nevada, Las Vegas  |  January 21, 2022 in Pearson Students

Two male college students stand in front of weight room equipment. They are both wearing black sweat pants and black t-shirts with UNLV pocket logos.

As college students, we all have busy lives. From preparing exams, writing papers, working a job, maintaining an active social life, many of us have a hard time maintaining our health and wellness. College is a place where you get to experience things you couldn't do anywhere else. People are moving away from their homes and practicing true independence. While college life can be an amazing experience, it comes with its challenges and difficulties as well. Our mental and physical health may decline, which is why it’s necessary to practice beneficial habits. Here are four actions you can take to help you maintain your health and wellness in this new environment.

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is one of the most essential things a college student needs. It allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your ability to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. It often feels like we don't have enough time to sleep, but we need to make the time. Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day, avoid napping during the day, don’t drink caffeine too late at night, and use your bed only for sleeping.

2. Exercise Regularly

Regularly exercising has a ton of benefits from helping with your sleep, moods, stress, and overall fitness. Exercising has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain. You can do a variety of things as going to your university’s gym, taking a long walk, playing a sport, and so much more. The main thing is do something you enjoy doing and make sure you’re having fun.

3. Eat a balanced diet

We all have resorted to ramen breakfast, lunch, and dinner at least once in our college life. But there are significant implications of unhealthy eating habits on overall long-term health and many college students have poor dietary habits from high intake of fast food, and other foods high in fat, low intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy, and erratic eating behaviors such as meal skipping. Eating a balanced diet has a variety of benefits from improving the ability to cope with stress, increasing performance and concentration in school, increasing energy levels, and promoting a better immune system. The main thing is to eat different combinations of dairy, fruits, grains, healthy fats, meat, and vegetables throughout the day. Also, cut down on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt.

4. Make time for self-care

With so many things happening in college, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself in college. But no matter how busy you may be, you need to make time to do something you like or that relaxes you. You may enjoy getting massages, seeing movies, or engaging in a hobby. Others may prefer performing yoga or practicing mindfulness. My ideas of self-care are working out, eating some of my favorite foods, and hanging out with my friends. You can greatly benefit from focusing on what you can control and not on what you can’t, particularly when anxious or stressed.

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