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Staying Healthy in College

World Health Day is April 7th. So let’s have an honest girl-to-girl talk about health. College students have some unique health dilemmas. College is about… well, sex, drugs, and rock and roll… oh, and the awesome stress of a full course load and various crappy part time jobs. This isn’t exactly the equation for stellar health. But there are things you can do without giving up the fun parts of college.

·       Eat decently. I’m not talking about going on a strict diet or denying yourself Oreo’s forever, but try to cover all your food groups. Eating right makes such a difference. Find easy foods that are good for you. At least pop a multi-vitamin.
·       Limit the booze. A glass of a wine or an occasional night of tequila shots is fine, but let’s not make that a regular habit. Also, try to pick lower calorie drinks like vodka and water. Here’s a big one, no Red Bull anything. Energy drinks and alcohol should never mix. That has DEATH written all over it. Ok, so you might not actually die, but there is no way it’s even close to a good idea.

·       Watch your drink. Guys can shady. Being drugged is a super dangerous situation. Avoid this by staying glued to your drink. Watch out for your friends too.
·       Don’t sleep around. Ok, I know. Guys can do it, why can’t we? I get that casual sex can be an expression of a new wave of feminism and while that sounds all good, it can have some major effects on your health. I won’t even go into the damage a no-strings-attached relationship gone bad can have on your mental health, but the big concern here is STDs. Some have no symptoms and can do some major damage. These are things you can’t take back. Know who you are sleeping with and get tested. And always, always, always use a condom!
·       Move! Obesity is a rising plague on college campuses. Take advantage of our campus gym and the awesome trail system and get off the couch. No more excuses!
·       Take a mental health day. I know there is a stigma around anything that has to do with mental health, but you can’t just ignore it. If something feels wrong, you got to get it taken care of. Depression and other mental illnesses are very real and scary things. Don’t be afraid to take some me-time and take care of yourself. Check out resources at Curry Health Center. There are even hotlines you can call if you need someone to just talk to you.

·       Sleep! College is known for its caffeine-driven all nighters. No bueno. Let your body rest! Pour that gigantic can of neon-colored energy drink down the drain, turn of the lap top, and go to bed. You will thank me when you get up on the right side of the bed for once.
·       Learn to de-stress. Finals, exams, and papers are not just annoying, they are super stressful. Save your pencils for filling in those Scantrons rather than using them as chew toys to deal with the stress. Learn some ways to manage your anxiety. If this means creating an organization system that involves color-coded post it’s or saying “ohm” during a yoga class, do it!
·       Don’t smoke. Two words: lung cancer. Plus, I don’t like gagging on your secondhand smoke.

 I know I didn’t exactly sugar coat anything here, but it’s your health. You have to take care of yourself or else who’s going to? I know it is a little cliché, but your body is your temple. It’s your responsibility and years down the road you will be happy you stayed in tip-top condition. I don’t want to crimp your style. Have fun in college. It’s your last chance before the real world, but do so in a healthy way.

Alyse is a senior at the University of Montana with a journalism major. She was born and raised in the small town of Dillon, Montana. When not busy with school, Alyse likes to enjoy the beautiful mountains of Montana. In addition to volunteering with Her Campus, Alyse also volunteers at the YWCA by leading support groups for domestic violence and sexual assualt survivors. After graduation, Alyse wants to explore the field of journalism in a warm and sunny climate.
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