Anxiety and depression are among some of the biggest health risks facing college students. These conditions can wreak havoc on the body’s immune system.
While mental illness often doesn’t have a single root cause, it can be managed and prevented with the right habits.
As a college student, your mental and physical health is imperative to your success. But it can be hard to prioritize these things in your busy schedule!
Luckily, these healthy lifestyle tips for students will help make it easy.
- Learn to Cook the Basics
Before you leave for college, start offering to help out around the kitchen at home. Learn your family’s favorite recipes, and make a list of the healthy “comfort” foods you can make yourself.
When you tour your campus, figure out what your living situation will be. Will you share a single dormitory with multiple roommates? Or will you have suite-style accommodations that include a shared kitchen?
Then, stock up on the basic appliances you’ll need. These might include:
- Small pots and pans
- A portable stovetop
- A rice cooker
- A Crockpot
- Plates and utensils
- A mini-refrigerator
Having the skills and equipment to cook for yourself will make it less tempting to order fast food delivery during late-night study sessions. Plus, it will come in handy if you don’t like what’s on the menu in the dining hall.
- Carry a Water Bottle
Add a water bottle to your back-to-school shopping list. Many of them are insulated, customizable, and come in a variety of sizes to meet your needs.
Then, make a concerted effort to stay hydrated throughout the day. Health experts advise drinking at least 3.7 liters a day for adult men, and 2.7 liters a day for adult women.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you might be dehydrated. If you have trouble keeping track of your fluid intake, try to drink water before every meal and after using the restroom. You can even download a smartphone app to keep track of your habits.
If you don’t like the taste of water, try infusing it with natural flavors, like cucumber or citrus. To help curb your cravings for sugary drinks, try diluting them with ice and water.
- Build Exercise and Meal Prep Into Your Routine
One of the biggest obstacles to following these healthy lifestyle tips for college students is simply not having enough time. To avoid this, start building a schedule for yourself. Determine:
- When you’ll wake up
- When you’ll go to sleep
- When you have classes, work, or other commitments
- When and how long you’ll exercise
- When and how often you’ll meal prep
Often, preparing larger batches of meals ahead of time will give you enough food to last a few days. And to make it feel like less of a chore, incorporate exercise and meal prepping into your study breaks.
Sharing these experiences with friends will help you socialize. Plus, it’ll give you the moral support you need to stay accountable.
- Get Enough Sleep
We all know that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. But the quality of your sleep matters just as much as the quantity.
An optimal sleep environment includes factors such as temperature, light exposure, and noise. You may prefer a colder room with some white noise in the background to help you drift off to dreamland.
Additionally, you can improve your sleep by reducing long or irregular naps. Don’t drink caffeine too late in the day, as this can keep you up at night.
Try cutting off your exposure to blue light — like computer, television, and phone screens — at least two hours before bedtime. And if all else fails, melatonin supplements can help your body wind down and fall asleep faster.
A healthy night’s sleep helps boost your memory, concentration, and physical energy for the day ahead.
- Eat Mindfully
Knowing how to eat healthy as a student doesn’t mean counting your calories or tracking your weight. If you gain a few pounds, forgive yourself. Remember this is normal for people adjusting to sudden changes, like starting college.
Keep a balanced diet of protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables. And consider adding a vegan multivitamin to your daily routine. This will help ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function.
As you try adjusting to a regular eating schedule, remember to listen to your body and feed it when it’s hungry. Snacking is not bad as long as it’s done in healthy moderation. Swap out the fatty, salty snacks for healthier alternatives, like celery or carrot sticks.
And remember that not all carbs are created equal. The glucose in carbohydrates is what helps fuel your brain. When choosing carbs, opt for whole-grain over refined grain — like brown rice and quinoa over white rice and pasta.
- Drink Sparingly
It’s an archetype we see everywhere in pop culture: College students drink. If you’re 21 or older and you decide to drink, acknowledge the consequences, and do it responsibly.
Have no more than one drink an hour, and remember to eat and drink water in between your alcoholic beverages.
Not only can drinking impair your judgment, but long-term drinking habits can lead to an addiction. Moreover, underage drinking is illegal and could result in disciplinary action at your school — or worse, a fine or criminal penalty.
Even drinking in moderation can disrupt your body’s natural processes. An upset stomach could lead to vomiting, which dehydrates the body. The next day, you may experience a hangover, making it harder to focus.
Keeping these effects in mind when you drink is the key to a healthy lifestyle for students in school.
- Manage Your Stress
Stress is one of the biggest inhibitors to these daily health tips for school students. If you feel overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or just too busy, you may not have the time or energy to devote to a healthy lifestyle.
This is why it’s important to know how to handle your stress. Rely on your support system for motivation. Journal about your feelings, or use a bullet journal to keep track of your time.
Don’t neglect your hobbies, interests, or social life outside of school. Remember that exercise is a great outlet for releasing your frustrations.
Most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of seeing a therapist. Not only are they there to listen, but they will also help identify the biggest stressors in your life, why they stress you out, and what you can do to handle them.
More Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Students
The importance of a healthy lifestyle for students is often overlooked since they have so much to deal with already.
But these healthy lifestyle tips for students are easy — and affordable — to work into your daily routine.
Not sure where to begin? Check out the exercise section of our blog to find the regimen that works best for you.