We all have it – the bottle of multivitamins and the “get well box” our moms prepare for us right before we head back to campus for the start of a new semester. If you’re an exception to the rule of most college students and you’ve actually taken said multivitamins every day, props to you for remembering and taking the time to take care of yourself! Whether you have been sniffle-free so far this year (consider yourself lucky) or you’ve already fallen victim to the “Miami Plague” that went around a few weeks ago, here are some pointers for keeping yourself as healthy as possible.
1. Don’t sip from the same straw. Yes, it’s so, so, so tempting to try your best friend’s seasonal Starbucks latte or new smoothie concoction from King Cafe, but many of us seem to have forgotten that drinking after one another is the absolute easiest way for germs to get around. Grab an extra straw for yourself on the way out the door if you want to sample a few sips.
2. Make room for some mental downtime.Remember that the post-midterm part of the semester is very stressful on your body, not just your mind. You’ve just finished a round of stressful tests and soon it will be time to start thinking about finals (ugh, the f-word), so these weeks in-between are crucial for getting some R&R before you gear up for the end of the semester. Take a morning walk through the hiking trails by Western, sign up for a yoga class at the rec, catch up on some Netflix, or grab some coffee and your favorite paperback and retreat to a cozy spot on campus for a few hours.
3. Pay attention to Vitamin C and Zinc.It’s time to stock up on some serious vitamins, especially if you get that dreaded feeling, the one where you know you’re catching a cold. This vitamin/mineral duo is known to be surprisingly effective for warding off early symptoms of illness. Pop an Emergen-C tablet into your water bottle or make sure your multivitamin has these two components the minute you start to feel under the weather.
4. Sleep, sleep, sleep!We’ve all heard the “eight hours of sleep per night” rule. But, the number of us who actually follow this rule are probably even less than those who take their vitamins every day. In an environment like college, where our schedules can change so drastically, so quickly, depending on what our workload is for the week or what events are scheduled for the weekend, it can be nearly impossible to have a regulated number of hours of sleep every night. Keep in mind everyone’s needs are different, so you may be able to get by on six hours, instead of the recommended eight. Play around and find what works best for your body and your class schedule, and do your best to keep it consistent so you don’t feel your energy lacking from day to day.
5. Get moving!If you live on the north part of campus, off-campus or on Western, it can seem like just getting to the rec fulfills your daily cardio session on its own. Keep in mind though, that when you’re stressed and busy with what’s going on this time of year, it’s critical to not let your fitness habits get pushed off the pages of your planner. It’s been proven that exercising before studying dramatically improves focus and memory retention, so even just going for a quick jog around the block benefits both your body and your mind! If you’re feeling like your weekly schedule is getting monotonous, grab a friend one evening and make the trek to the rec to try fun group classes like Zumba, Kickboxing, Pilates or Spinning.
6. Get A Flu ShotLastly, but not at all least, one of the most effective ways to stay healthy and productive for the remainder of the semester is to drop by the Health Center, Walgreens or CVS in Oxford to get a flu shot. Usually there is little to no wait and depending on your insurance, you may or may not be required to pay. Stop in to one of these places on a free afternoon with your insurance card to cut your chances of getting the flu this season. You, your roommate, your friends and your GPA will thank you!