How to Stay Healthy in College

Health is the biggest blessing.  If you’re healthy, you can do what you love with the people you love when you want to.  When I’m healthy, I feel better about myself and life in general.  I get all of my tasks done efficiently and positively with time to spare.  But staying healthy is hard in college.  Not only are you far away from the foods you know, you’re far away from loving parents who will tell you to wash your hands or who will take care of you if you’re sick.

There are so many aspects of health. There’s exercise, which is important to keeping your body healthy and avoiding getting sick; there’s eating healthy; and there’s mental health.  All 3 of these are equally important.  To me, they all go hand in hand (in hand).  If I’m not mentally healthy, I can’t exercise well and I binge eat. If I’m not eating well, my exercising isn’t as effective and I feel poor mentally.

A large concern for many people is the Freshman 15.  This was one of my biggest concerns coming to college, particularly at WashU where the food is so good.  Beyond the cafeteria food, there is free food at almost every turn. It’s everywhere; on a limited college budget, free anything is a blessing.

It’s easy to let physical health slide, especially with me as your co-conspirator telling you the best places for food on campus.  Here are a few pieces of advice I’ve gathered from my time at WashU.

Exercise:

  1. Make time for exercise. Just decide to put it in your schedule.  If you’re anything like me, being busy makes you more efficient.  I ran track in high school and was a straight A student. I got the same grades during the fall and winter that I did in spring during the track season, even though I had two hours of practice every night.  I become more efficient when I have a lot to do.  At college, there aren’t any have-to-do’s.  You don’t have to go to that club meeting.  You don’t have to go to lunch at this spot.  You don’t even have to go to class.  But make exercise a have-to-do.
  2. Find a class at the rec center, and go weekly.  Mine is Tuesday and Thursday morning yoga.  I love it.  Think of it as another class in your schedule.
  3. Try something new!  Going along with the rec center classes, Wednesdays they offer Log Rolling, a sport I have never tried before.  Log Rolling is a sport that looks an awful lot like an obstacle on Wipeout.  This past Wednesday, I attended the class for the first time. I couldn’t feel my butt the next day.  You don’t have to try log rolling, but just try something new because – who knows!

  1. Go to Forest Park.  Walking or running on the trails is a great way to see the city and some beautiful scenery.  There are lots of children and dogs (refreshing, since you don’t get to see too many on campus), and you may get lucky by wandering into the middle of a Grilled Cheese Cook-Off like I did this past weekend.

Food:

  1. Think about what you eat.  There is free food everywhere on campus.  Grab that donut from the sorority girls selling tickets for whatever event.  Take some chips from your RPM hours.  Just make sure you consciously want these snacks and aren’t just eating them for flavor in your mouth.
  2. GUM.  Gum is how I stop myself from eating too much.  Most of the time, I just want flavor.  Extra Watermelon gum or, my new discovery, Trident Layers Strawberry and Citrus are my lifesavers.
  3. Challenge yourself to one Paws-n-Go salad a day.  This might drain some meal points, but it’s healthy and delicious, and you will probably have more than enough meal points to last you to the end of the semester.  The salad bar is so much fun – choose your lettuce, your toppings, your dressing, some fruits, some nuts, and maybe even a pasta or quinoa salad.  It’s a DIY Salata!

Mental:

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.  There are so many resources on Campus for you to contact.
    1. Your RA!
    2. Uncle Joe’s Peer Counselling
    3. Habif Health and Wellness Center
    4. Your new friends
    5. Your family
  2. Take time for yourself every day.  Do something you like and treat yourself.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be with a food, but it can be with an episode of your favorite show, listening to your favorite song, going for a walk around campus, or finding a dog to pet.

 

Stay healthy!!  

By Molly Isaac