Many students struggle to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while at college because of the added pressure that studying brings to their life. Being a college student doesn’t necessarily mean living in dorms and drinking every night of the week, and in fact a college student can even be a stay-at-home mom who is trying to take her career to the next level. Therefore, as any type of student will tell you, studying is not easy, and you can soon find that you aren’t looking after yourself properly because all your time is spent doing research and writing papers. But it is essential that you do maintain a healthy lifestyle and take extra care of your own wellbeing if you want to do well in your studies.
Therefore, whether you are studying alongside your other commitments, or you are a first-time student who is fully immersed in the college student environment, it is important that you take the time to look after your health and wellbeing. Many people make the mistake of focusing on their physical health, neglecting the importance of mental health, which is why we have put together this helpful guide of 12 health and wellness tips especially for college students. Your health and wellbeing have a direct impact on your educational attainment, so if you want to do well, then check out these tips and advice!
When you are busy studying, it can be difficult to find the time to cook fresh and healthy meals, which can leave you turning to fast food and processed meals instead. However, it is important that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to function at its full potential. No matter how busy you are, or how much of a rush you are in, you should always eat breakfast as it will kick start your metabolism for the day and help you to focus more while studying. If you find that you are regularly eating while on-the-go, then take fresh fruit with you to lectures or study sessions so that you have something easy but healthy to eat.
Get Enough Sleep
Studying can take up a considerable amount of your time, and if you are studying alongside other commitments such as a full-time job or a family to look after, then getting enough sleep at night can seem impossible! However, your body needs sleep to recover from the day, and not getting enough rest can leave you feeling lethargic, and you may have difficulty concentrating the following day. When you have exams and deadlines approaching, it can be tempting to stay up late studying, but this may have a counterproductive effect on how well you retain information. Being tired and not getting enough rest can make it much more difficult to concentrate and remember the information you are studying. So, instead of staying up late reading through your notes, you should instead get an early night and be ready for a day of studying the next morning.
After a busy day at work, looking after your family, and studying, the last thing you want to do is head to the gym to exercise. However, you may be surprised at how positive an effect it can have on your overall health and wellbeing, as well as your study skills. Exercise is important for both your body and mind due to the endorphins that we release while engaging in exercise, so it is important that you include it as much as you can in your schedule. By being physically active in the morning when you first wake up, you can start the day in a positive way, making you feel ready and alert for the day ahead. However, it is important to remember that exercise doesn’t necessarily have to take place within a gym; going for a swim or a run around the block is another great way to participate in exercise.
Find a Course That Suits You
It is important that you take some time to consider what course you want to study and think about how much of an impact it will have on the rest of your life. Some courses are more strenuous than others, so it is important that you consider the impact that the course you choose will have on the rest of your life. While studying and developing your education is an important part of life, studying should not have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing. Before you sign up for a course, you should spend some time considering your reasons for taking the course and think about how you are going to balance studying with looking after yourself.
If you want to return to college and develop your education, but you already have a full-time job and a family to look after, then you may consider the online programs that are available. For example, there are nurse practitioner schools online that offer masters programs that allow nurses who are already working within a role to study for a Family Nurse Practitioner program. Therefore, finding the right course that suits you and your needs is a great way to get back into education, but while also maintaining your other commitments, as well as protecting your health and wellbeing.
Drink Enough Water
We are often told that it is important to drink enough water, but very few of us act upon it. We need to stay hydrated because it helps to ensure that our bodies work correctly and helps to keep us focused throughout the day. Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be an inconvenience, and just by always having a bottle of water with you when on-the-go, you can keep up your water intake. Drinking enough water can also help to combat hunger as our bodies often mistake hunger for dehydration.
Spend Time with Friends
When it comes to studying, you can find that all your time is spent doing research and writing papers, but you need to still have some down time to spend with friends. Socializing with your friends and having fun is an important part of life, and it can have a huge impact on how you are feeling, and subsequently your health and wellbeing. It can be tempting to spend most of your time on your own studying, but this can be damaging to your mental health. Spending time with others is a great way to both have fun and keep your mind active. Some research has found that spending too much time on your own can cause depression and stress, so make the most of your new opportunity to meet new people and socialize with some friends!
Plan Each Day with a Schedule
No matter how dedicated you are to your education and how badly you want to succeed, it is impossible to expect yourself to study 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even attempting at this study schedule will have a huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing, and you will likely find that you are unable to retain all the information you need to. Therefore, it is advisable to spend some time planning a schedule for the following day so that you make the most of your time. Research has found that you are more likely to learn more if you do more manageable chunks of studying, instead of spending hours at a time going through your notes.
As part of your daily plan, you should also include significant breaks so that your mind is getting a rest from studying. In the long term, this could help you retain information easier and not find studying as boring or monotonous. This can include putting limits on work hours. For example, you can decide that you will not continue to study after 7pm in order to enjoy some down time to relax before bed.
Do Your Research
It is advantageous to have an idea of what your college program entails before you sign up to it. While most students have an idea of what career they are hoping to obtain and pick their courses based on that, it is also important to do your research on each course so that you know what is expected of you. Knowing what to expect will help you to prepare, while also protecting your mental health and wellbeing.
This is particularly important if you already have a job and family to take care of and plan to do an online course instead. For example, if your course requires you to do a lot of practical work, such as a placement or some work experience, then this could be something that does not fit in with your current role of employment. So, be sure to check out the information provided about your program, and make sure you are aware of how you are going to be assessed. Many online degree courses offer 100% coursework and online assessments that make the program more realistic to complete.
Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
When you have a busy schedule, it can seem impossible to keep in touch with family and friends, but they should be heavily involved in your studying life. By keeping them informed and communicating with your family and friends, they are able to assist you where they can. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can help you with your studying, but they can make the rest of your life easier, and take the pressure off you. For example, if you have children and are struggling to find the time to study alongside looking after them, then reach out to your parents or siblings as they may be able to assist with childcare, giving you the time that you need to get your studying done. Those around you are much less likely to help if they don’t know that you are struggling, so keep the lines of communication open. You may even be surprised at how much your friends and family can relate to your situation, and how much they are willing to help.
Don’t Work in Bed
Many students are guilty of working early in the morning until late at night from the comfort of their own bed. And while this can be a good way of feeling comfortable while you are writing a paper or doing some revision, it can also make getting to sleep an awful lot harder. Working from your bed can cause you to lie awake at night, unable to sleep, as you are still thinking about the work you need to do. Therefore, it is important that you keep your work and sleep environments separate.
Have Mechanisms in Place to Help You Cope with Stress
Studying is stressful, and there will be times when you feel like quitting or giving up. But it is important to remember that this is a natural part of developing your education, and all students have felt the same way at some point. Therefore, it is important that you have mechanisms in place to help you combat the stress that studying can make you experience. This can include knowing when to put the books down and enjoy a well-earned rest. Failure to do this can cause serious problems for your overall health and wellbeing, such as anxiety, depression, and high levels of stress.
Set Realistic Goals
When studying, it is important that you set yourself goals, but make sure that they are always realistic. Setting goals that are unachievable will have serious consequences for your health and wellbeing as you can start to feel demotivated and like you are not good enough. Take each exam and essay one at a time and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t meet the goals that you had set yourself. Remember; all you can do is try your best!
Many students don’t realize how much of an impact studying can have on our health and wellbeing, so by following these tips and focusing on your own needs, you can achieve success while also taking care of yourself.