9 Steps for Staying Healthy This Semester
Don’t let school, sports, work, and your social life wear down your body. Here’s how to stay healthy this semester.
1. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy diet can improve your overall health, help you maintain a healthy weight, and boost your immune system. While it may seem challenging to find healthy food options in the campus cafeteria, simple adjustments to your eating habits can make a big difference. Diet and nutrition don’t just improve your overall physical wellbeing, but they also aid cognitive performance. So, while pizza or late-night fast food runs might make you feel right at the moment, it’s best to make mindful food choices and stay committed to healthy eating. These tips can make eating healthy in college easy:
- Never skip breakfast. If you don’t have time for a freshly prepared breakfast, grab smart choices on the go. Granola bars, fresh fruit, and yogurt are all great options when you’re rushing out the door to make that 8 AM class.
- Eat three meals a day. While your busy schedule can make it easy to skip a substantial meal, eating regularly can help reduce cravings later in the day.
- Stock up on healthy snacks. If you get hungry between meals, grab something nutritious. This won’t just help promote healthy eating, but it’ll give you the energy to get through your next class. Keep a stock of fresh vegetables, low-fat cheeses, nuts, fruit, and protein bars so you can quickly grab a healthy option when hunger kicks in mid-day.
- Avoid processed foods. Pizzas, burgers, and french fries sound delicious, but a fresh salad will leave you feeling lighter and more energized.
- Make grocery shopping and meal planning a team effort. Grab your roommates and hit the local grocery store to find creative options for healthy eating. Keeping your brain and body fueled will help minimize stress and energy depletion.
2. Move Your Body
Some semesters your schedule will be so busy that you can’t imagine where you’ll fit in time to exercise. Luckily, college campuses make it easy for students to exercise. Most universities have campus gyms, group fitness classes, and intramural sports programs.
The Texas Christian University’s Campus Recreation & Wellness Promotion and the TCU Recreation Center is a great place to start students attending TCU. Participate in intramural sports, fitness programs, aquatics, and more.
Even if you can’t hit the gym daily, walking to and from class can help keep your body in motion. Make a conscious effort to move every day and try to incorporate a more rigorous workout at least three times a week. When all else fails, you can do quick cardio exercises (think jumping jacks, pushups, burpees, and squats) right in the comfort of your room. Staying active will leave you feeling energized and compliment the other healthy decisions you make throughout the day.
3. Commit to a Routine
The college years are hectic. It might seem like you’re one of the busiest people on Earth. You can avoid stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle by establishing a daily routine. Routines help you stay organized, motivated, and focused on self-discipline. Plan your meals. Schedule times for exercise. Block off time on your schedule to study. Maintain a proper sleep schedule. Find time for activities that bring you joy. Most importantly, create a morning routine that doesn’t leave you rushing out the door. Starting your morning on the right foot will set the pace for a successful day and positively impact your school semester.
4. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated doesn’t just help with your overall health, but it also improves concentration and curbs food cravings. Make a habit of taking water with you everywhere you go. Water helps keep the body clean, transport vitamins and nutrients and supports your diet and nutrition plans. Proper hydration is also vital for your mental and physical health, particularly your muscles, skin, and joints. If you aren’t adequately hydrated, your body will struggle to perform at its best. Lack of hydration can lead to the following symptoms:
- Food cravings
- Muscle cramps
- Dry Skin
Staying hydrated is also essential for exercise and getting a good night’s sleep. If you aren’t a big fan of plain water, try enhancing the flavor by adding fresh fruit.
5. Get Some Sleep
The suggested amount of sleep for college-age students is 7-9 hours a night, but chances are you aren’t getting enough sleep. Sharing a room with someone or living in a noisy dorm building can also affect your sleep. But getting the right amount of rest is vital for several reasons. Sleep deprivation can lead to reduced brain function, fatigue, headaches, and weight gain. Set a sleep schedule. Avoid caffeine or heavy foods right before bed. Take naps throughout the day when needed. Use sleeping masks or earplugs. Do whatever you need to do to get the right amount of sleep each night.
6. Wash Your Hands Frequently
If you don’t want to miss class because of illness, hand washing is essential. College students are in close contact with others frequently throughout the day. Between classmates, roommates, and being out and about on campus, it’s easy to catch a cold, virus, or the flu when you’re in college. Simple handwashing practices can help prevent many illnesses. Just think about all the potentially germ-infested things you touch daily. Wash your hands before meals, when you’ve been in contact with sick people, and after touching community surfaces. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag for the times when you can’t get to soap and water.
7. Keep Your Living Space Clean
Rushing in and out of your room to get to meetings or class can leave cleaning at the bottom of your list. Staying ahead of the mess will make things easier in the long run, and focusing on keeping specific areas clean can be a huge help. Regularly wipe down surfaces and doorknobs, as well as your keyboard and mouse. Be sure to clean the bathroom every week and change your bed sheets frequently. Poor air circulation in the winter can lead to the buildup of dust, dander, and germs. Keeping your living space clean is just another way to stay healthy all semester long.
8. Listen to Your Body
You know your body best. When something doesn’t feel right physically, mentally, or emotionally, you’ll know. Be proactive in treating exhaustion, illness, and other daily stresses. If you feel a cold coming on, get some extra rest and take extra vitamin C. If you feel pain in your bones, muscles, or joints, skip the gym for a few days and nurse your injury back to health.
As important as it is to fulfill your commitments, it’s also vital to drop everything when your body or mind needs a little TLC. If you’re sick, stay home. It won’t just help prevent you from spreading germs to others, but it will also help speed up the healing process. Time management is a stressful aspect of college life. Many students overcommit to clubs, teams, classes, and friends. But don’t be afraid to say no when everything becomes too much.
9. Make Time for Self-Care
Germs aren’t the only cause of illness. In addition to mental strain, the body can see physical effects when exposed to a significant amount of stress. That’s why it’s essential to take time every day to de-stress, relax, and take care of yourself. Create a routine that involves self-care. Make time for things you enjoy. Read a book to unwind. Pick up a hobby that brings you joy. Stay on top of regularly scheduled doctor appointments. Take a day off when your body and mind calls for it. The better you care for yourself, the more successful you will be throughout the semester.
When Should I Visit University Urgent Care?
Even the healthiest college students come down with the occasional illness. It’s important to seek medical attention if you’re not feeling well. Not only will it help diagnose and treat the problem, but seeing a healthcare provider can help ensure your illness is nothing serious. Our urgent care facility is conveniently located on the edge of campus in Fort Worth, Texas. Our compassionate team of ER nurses treats patients throughout the community, and we aren’t limited to university students.
With little to no wait time, we’re here to provide full-service urgent care services that’ll put you on the path to better health. Give us a call at (817) 439-9539 or check wait times and book an appointment online.