Finding a balance between college, a social life, and personal health can be difficult and nearly impossible for many students. While I have found a way to balance my social life and my school work, my personal health has been drifting to the bottom of my to-do list every day. I noticed that I was less happy because I didn’t take time to go outside and exercise or to eat the right things. Before coming to college, personal health was always so important, so why was it slipping so far away from me now? I decided to challenge myself to take care of myself to the best of my ability for one week and see if I felt improved in any way.
Day 1: On the first day of my new personal journey I was feeling so determined to succeed. I woke up with a positive mindset and went to Student Recreation & Fitness Center for a hour-long workout. Afterwards I went by Jamba Juice to get my favorite strawberry and banana smoothie. My morning started out so well and so healthy. I was beginning to wonder why I hadn’t paid more attention to my personal health before now. I then realized I needed to take time to work on my classes and my homework. Between all the studying and class, squeezing in a healthy lunch was difficult. UF doesn’t offer many healthy options for quick eating. Croutons is a healthy, but long walk away from Library West. My evening was filled with meetings and socializing, which generally leads to eating at a restaurant. Choosing a healthy option like grilled chicken or a salad is so difficult when so many yummy things are thrown at people every day. Looking at a menu filled with pizza, chicken fingers, burgers, etc. can really distract people from the small “Salads & Soups” section of menus. Choosing places to eat that are primarily healthier can limit the temptation to eat poorly and make going out to eat a lot more enjoyable. Day one was completed with a trip to the gym and healthier eating, success.
Day 2: While day 1 of my journey to a better and healthier me was a success, day 2 was much more difficult. Having class at 9:30 am made going to the gym in the morning VERY difficult. I was forced to go to classes and study all while thinking about the healthy living I could be doing, but wasn’t. Lunch time came around and I needed a quick option but campus again limited me to very poor choices for food. Settling for a Cliff bar from the P.O.D. near Marston, I moved on with my busy day. Going through meetings, classes, and studying left me with little time for going to the gym or even taking a power walk. By the time I was finished doing all my work for the day it was well past dinner time and I was exhausted. Day 2 turned out to be much less productive than day 1.
Day 3: I decided I would sign up for a spin class during my free time to make sure I was being the healthiest I could be. I woke up and had a Greek yogurt and fruit smoothie and went to spin, offered at the South West gym on campus. After spin, I felt so refreshed and happy. Exercise has such a positive impact on my day. Continuing my daily routine of class, studying, and meetings, I made sure I fit in healthy meals of salads and plenty of water. Finishing out my day by going to sleep at a perfectly reasonable time of 10:30 pm, day 3 was definitely my best day yet.
Day 4: Having such a good day before left me feeling energized and refreshed waking up on day 4. I knew I wanted to continue to feel so positive and light, so I got up in the morning and ran stadiums. Utilizing the resources on campus for exercise is a great way to always mix up your routines and to make sure you’re making the most of your workout. I finished my day the same as the day before, going through my regular schedule and eating properly and healthy. I decided to end my day with an evening yoga class offered at South West gym on campus. The intense workout from earlier in the day coupled with such a relaxing workout in the evening was an amazing way to end my day. I knew my personal health was improving and I was taking better care of myself.
Day 5: On the last day of my personal journey to self-health, I wanted to make sure I was practicing things that I would continue after this “experiment”. I made a list of all the classes offered through Student Rec that I was interested in and wanted to try out. I also went to the grocery store and bought healthy foods like spinach and apples so I could make my own salads at home. I exercised at Student Rec before my afternoon classes, had an amazing salad from Croutons before my evening events, and then finished out my day with a night time jog.
What I Learned: Improving your health is so important. Throughout my 5-day journey to make myself feel better as a person, I discovered I was more motivated to study, workout, and eat better because I was feeling better. There are so many proven benefits from doing positive things for yourself and your body, so why not just take a leap and start somewhere? You only get one body and one soul, so why not treat them the way they should be treated? UF offers so many different resources to improve your health and to learn about how to improve your health. My advice is to take advantage of the resources and the information offered to you. Becoming the best you can only benefit you.