College life isn’t usually marked by incredibly healthy habits. A busy schedule, heavy workload, and a lack of spending money can make eating regular, healthy meals difficult. For the same reasons, it can be hard to find time and energy to work out. Due to social pressure, students often find themselves falling into the unhealthy and potentially risky habits of peers. While it may seem unimportant to prioritize health and fitness as a young adult, the way you treat your body now will have lasting implications for years to come. Additionally, finding time to focus on diet and exercise can improve academic performance and mood, allowing you to take full advantage of the college experience.
There is a reason breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Many people skip breakfast because they don’t feel immediately hungry in the morning or they can’t find time to fit a meal into their morning routine, but studies find that a healthy breakfast improves memory and cognitive performance. A balanced breakfast also helps fight cravings throughout the day when you would otherwise begin to feel depleted.
College students often find themselves munching on sugary snacks to combat a dip in energy. When we feel tired or overworked, it is normal to crave sugary foods. Unfortunately, snacks high in sugar only provide a temporary pick-me-up and will ultimately result in a crash that leaves you struggling to keep your eyes open. Sugar is addictive and can cause cravings if eaten in excess, and may also lead to unhealthy weight gain.
College life often means eating on the go, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on vending machine candy bars to get you through your next class. Be prepared for when hunger strikes by stocking up on healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and low-sugar protein bars. While you may not have a refrigerator in your dorm, many health snacks don’t require refrigeration and can be easily stored in your book bag.
Choose Wisely in the Dining Hall
If your school has a dining hall where you can get decent meals at a relatively low cost, make sure to fill your plate as wisely as possible. Avoid foods heavy in fat and carbs, and try getting as much raw vegetables and lean proteins into your diet as you can. These foods keep your brain running efficiently while also helping to improve mood.
Drink Panty of Water
A busy schedule and the stress of classwork can make it easy to forget to stay hydrated during the day. When you finally do realize you are thirsty, a soda might sound better than bottled water. It is important to remember, however, that your body and brain need to stay hydrated to function correctly, and water is the best way to achieve healthy levels of hydration. You may find yourself overly tired or unable to concentrate if you are routinely dehydrated. Keeping a reusable water bottle with you at all times can help remind you to drink more water.
Make Working Out a Priority
Finding time and energy to work out in college can feel impossible. The great thing about physical exercise, however, is that the more you work out, the more your energy levels will improve. Try scheduling your workouts a week in advance, and treating them like a class when it is time to get moving. This will help you to stay committed to a routine. Don’t add to your stress by scheduling a work out every day if you are just starting out, but instead shoot for two or three days a week until you notice your fitness level rise.
Take Up Yoga
The practice of yoga has endless benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. It can be a great way to get your body moving if you aren’t yet use to rigorous exercise, as well as a rejuvenating addition to an intense workout program. Yoga strengthens the body while also improving flexibility and focus. It can help you learn to focus on your breathing and practice mindfulness, a type of meditation that helps relieve stress. You can easily keep a yoga mat in our dorm room and find yoga sessions taught online for free.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Substance abuse is an aspect of college life that is often played off as normal and expected. The results of heavy drug and alcohol use on colleges campuses, however, contribute to poor academic performance, increased dropout rates, sexual assault, driving under the influence, and addiction. If you believe you may have developed a problematic relationship with drugs or alcohol, it is important to use your school’s resources and reach out for help. Some schools have addiction counselors onsite, while others may refer you to a quality treatment center. Investing in your health now by regaining control of your life can give you the best chance of academic success and mental wellbeing in young adulthood.
Maintaining physical and mental health through a well-balanced diet and exercise program is one aspect of holistic treatment for addiction. If you believe you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Burning Tree West, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals who specialize in helping young adults struggling with addiction, and their families. Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives in a way that fosters lasting sobriety. We believe that practicing recovery doesn’t have to mean an end to educational or career goals, but instead can become a fundamental part of a successful and fulfilling life. For more information on how we can help, call us now at 972-962-7374