6. The Problem: Drinking too much caffeine
Naturally, the issue of caffeine consumption follows sleep deprivation. It’s no secret that college students consume large volumes of caffeine and energy drinks in an effort to study, party, and pull all-nighters. In 2010, the rising popularity of energy “shots” helped energy drink sales increase by about 13 percent according to a market research report released in USA Today earlier this year. Unlike soft drinks, the FDA does not regulate the amount of caffeine in energy drinks or coffee. The stimulus that caffeine gives your body isn’t healthy nor is it sustainable.
If it’s hard for you to kick the habit of reaching for a caffeinated drink when you’re tired, instead, choose water or something a bit healthier than soda. Green Tea, for example, is highly recommended as an alternative to highly caffeinated beverages. Although there is a mild amount of caffeine, the benefits far outweigh any harm done by the caffeine. The nutrients and vitamins in green tea are known to prevent cancer, fight obesity and improve heart health, according to a WebMD article.
7. The Problem: Eating too much takeout
Sure, celebrating a birthday or going on a date to a restaurant is reasonable on occasion. It’s when you make eating out a consistent habit that you get into trouble. But the calories from a sub one day and greasy fries the next really add up.
Preparing your own meals is, of course, the preferred alternative. However, if cooking isn’t your forte or takes up too much time, plan ahead. Prepare a meal on Sunday (when you might have a little more free time) that you can re-heat or re-purpose. Chicken is a great staple that you can use in multiple meals. Grill a few chicken breasts early on and you can make different meals like quesadillas, barbeque sandwiches and salads throughout the week. Having easy alternatives to ordering pizza or calling for Chinese will help curb any temptation to order takeout.
8. The Problem: You’re always on Facebook
The weather is warmer and the sun is shining and begging us to get outside. We should listen. An article published in the San Francisco Chronicle raises concerns about a growing concern dealing with technology and multitasking. A study from UCSF shows that the constant from smart phones and social networks is actually affecting our memory and mental performance.
Unplug yourself. Limit the time you spend online keeping up with your friends’ pictures and wall posts. Instead use that time to actually hang out with those friends, take some new pictures and create new memories. Next time you go out with friends, make a pact not to check your messages while you’re eating dinner. How valuable is the time you’re spending together if half of it is spent texting other people?
9. The Problem: Not drinking enough water
If sleep is the foundation for health, then hydration is the cornerstone. Believe it or not, your body is almost always in a state of dehydration. This causes fatigue, headaches, and even over-eating.
Water is essential for your body to function properly. Improved hydration can boost metabolism and help your body absorb soluble nutrients like C and B vitamins. The benefits of proper hydration extend to how you feel and think says Keller. “If you drink enough water everyday,” she says, “you’ll feel better everyday.”
Since our sense of thirst is dull, we aren’t always aware that we need more water. The easiest way to get into the habit of drinking enough water is to always have some available.
“When no one is reminding you to drink, it’s easy to forget,” says Keller.
She says that sometimes we reach for food in response to feeling thirsty, without even knowing it. Proper hydration can cut down these cravings and lead to a healthier lifestyle overall.
The key to drinking enough water is simply to have enough with you at all times and make a habit of drinking it. Work a glass of water into your daily routine. That could mean pouring a glass in the morning after you brush your teeth or right before you sit down to watch a TV show in the evening. Get creative; the more often you can incorporate drinking water into your everyday tasks, the better. Before you know it, instead of reaching for a soda you’ll be craving that H2O!
If drinking plain water all day is too dull for your palette, there are a number of natural ways to add flavor but be sure to stay away from sugars or artificial sweetening packets. Keller suggests adding a lemon, cucumber, or an orange slice for a natural hint of flavor. Other methods include adding fresh mint leaves (which you can find at the store for about a dollar) or even a splash of your favorite fruit juice!
10. The Problem: You’re too busy to have fun!
During the school year we pack our schedules so airtight, there is hardly any breathing room. It’s summer, RELAX.
No more excuses. Get out and enjoy the summer sun, girls! With class and school behind you, your schedule should free up plenty of time for fun. Go for a run outside, watch the sunset on the beach, play pick-up softball with friends, just do something!
Try making a summer bucket list with your best friends. Get creative with it so you don’t fall into another dull routine. When you and your friends are struggling to come up with something to do at night, pull out the list and get ready to check something off!
A healthier you is a happier you. Hopefully some of these tips can help you turn around a bad habit or two and make this summer that much more enjoyable.