You’ve got your results. You’ve celebrated. Now it’s time to head off to college. Student life is all about meeting new people and enjoying incredible experiences. But spare a thought for your health. Late nights, exam stress and partying can take their toll. Here are six top tips to help you stay healthy during your studies.
1-Pay attention to your diet
Your diet has a significant bearing on your health. When you go away to college or university, it can be tricky to find time to cook healthy meals. Follow simple recipes and use fresh ingredients. Shop for yourself, as this is much cheaper and better for you than eating fast food. Swap fried food for baked or roasted meals. Cut down on processed meat and ensure you get your five a day. If you find it tough to eat five whole portions of fruit and vegetables per day, you can include homemade smoothies, juices and soups. Keep an eye on sugar consumption. Use sweeteners in hot drinks and swap sugary breakfast cereals for whole-grain versions. Drink water or sugar-free cordial instead of soda.
2-Try to get enough sleep
If you’re sharing a room with others or you’re enjoying an active social life, you may be missing out on sleep. Try to get into a routine, which enables you to enjoy good quality sleep, as well as all your social activities. Perhaps you could devote a couple of nights at the weekend to partying and try to get to bed at a reasonable time during the week. If you have exams or assignments, it’s particularly important to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling with getting to sleep, try and block out noises and switch off. Don’t think about work or deadlines and use earplugs and an eye mask.
Exercise is good for both your body and your mind. Taking part in team sports or hitting the gym releases tension and stress. It also helps to build strength and endurance and improves circulation. Joining a team could also open up opportunities to meet friends and learn some new skills. Try to engage in moderate physical exercise for around 30 minutes, at least five times per week.
4-Practice safe sex
Sexually transmitted diseases are most commonly found in young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. If you’re heading off to college, you may start new relationships and enjoy sexual encounters. Always make sure you practice safe sex. Use condoms to reduce the risk of STDs. It’s important to be aware that other forms of contraception, such as the pill, do not offer protection against infections. If you have had unprotected sex and you would like to book an STD test, check this place here. Sometimes, STDs do not cause any symptoms. If you do notice signs, such as abnormal discharge, irritation or blisters in the genital area, see your doctor.
5-Drink in moderation
Many students enjoy a drink from time to time at college. Drinking alcohol is fine in moderation. However, try to avoid drinking excessively. Consuming too much alcohol is likely to leave you feeling worse for wear the next day. Alcohol clouds your judgement, and it also contributes to dehydration. Drink plenty of water before you go to bed to reduce the risk of headaches and nausea. If you are out for the night, alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Avoid shorts, as it can be hard to keep track of how much you’ve drunk.
6-Seek advice if you’re struggling with stress
College can be a stressful time for many reasons. Going away from home for the first time can be difficult, and it may take time to adjust to new people and schedules. A lack of sleep, deadlines and exams are common causes of stress among college students. Although most of us experience stress from time to time, it’s not normal to feel overwhelmed all the time. If you are struggling to cope, seek advice. You can visit your doctor or get in touch with college welfare representatives. Try to be open and honest with your friends and don’t be afraid to lean on them for support.
Going to college is an exciting adventure, but it can also take its toll on your health. Follow these six simple steps to ensure you’re fighting fit and ready to enjoy your studies and your social life. Let your hair down and try new things, but don’t forget your health.