Popped Popcorn

How to Keep Your Energy Level High Despite Being Stuck Inside All Day

Whether you’re still on campus or have already moved back home for the rest semester, at this point you've probably stocked up on enough snacks to get through these next few weeks. This is a big adjustment for college students who are used to leading an active lifestyle, but are now confined to a more sedentary condition. Overall, this global COVID-19 pandemic is stressful as hell, and with nothing else to do than to huddle on the couch and eat your worries away, how do you keep your body feeling strong and healthy? When you take better care of your body, your immune system will be in better shape too. So if you're starting to feel sluggish from time inside and all-day buffets, here are a few tips to help you maintain proper nutrition and physical care.

  1. 1. Stock up on fruits and veggies

    One of the most important ways to stay healthy is to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only are they good for your body, but they keep your mind clear and energized when you feel in a funk. Even though canned goods seem like a top priority right now, your body still craves nutrients that only things like spinach, bell pepper, and berries can give. You’ll still want to keep your non-perishables, but having some raw, wholesome options will keep you from grabbing something out of the candy bowl as a last resort. I recommend finding produce that doesn’t spoil too quickly, like apples and oranges, so that supplies will last without you needing to leave your house to visit the grocery store.

    Related: What to Have Stocked Up In Your Kitchen During This Pandemic

  2. 2. Prioritize breakfast

    Woman holding a white mug with breakfast food and a book open on a bed

    Eating a well-rounded breakfast is something you've been told to do before—but how is that supposed to help when you're stuck inside all day? A 2013 study from the University of Missouri-Columbia put this to the test. At the time, 60% of young Americans reported skipping breakfast regularly. However, researchers found that a protein-rich breakfast reduced overeating and snacking in the evening. The participants in this study ate around 35 grams of protein in their breakfast, alongside a normal amount of fat, fiber and sugar.

    By starting your day off right, you can set yourself up for healthy habits and raise your energy levels (v important when all this coronavirus news has you down). Plus, with all this extra time inside, this gives you a chance to cook up those restaurant-worthy brunches you've been missing the past few weeks.

  3. 3. Be mindful of portions

    If you read the label on the food you're eating, you’ll find that portion sizes can be misleading and are often smaller than you would normally guess. For example, a Pop-Tart’s serving size is one Pop-Tart, even though two are in the bag. When it comes to chips, the average serving is around 10-15 chips. You should ultimately do what's best for your body and try to maintain your normal diet when necessary, and that includes being mindful to not overeat. But also, if eating through a sleeve of Oreos is your version of self-care, and it's the only thing that can make your day feel less apocalyptic, then go for it. We're living in crazy times, and while you don't want to go too wild with food, you are 100% allowed to indulge. 

    My recommendation is to find snacks that have a higher quantity of pieces in the serving size for around the same calories as other snacks you love, so that you can be satisfied without accidentally going over. I love Harvest Snaps because it lets you eat 22 pieces for the same calories as 10 chips.

  4. 4. Drink more water

    If I'm being real, I don't drink enough water each day, and you probably don't either. One main cause for this may be that people confuse thirst for hunger—the PKD Foundation (Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation) has actually found that to be true for 37% of people. Whenever you feel hungry and want to reach for a food, try drinking a glass of water first. This will help you snack smarter when you're bored at home. 

  5. 5. Keep your body moving

    Stay active with exercise, even if you can't visit your campus gym or favorite studio. Right now, it's still safe go on a solo run or walk if you need to, however you should try to stay inside as much as possible. If you miss your gym routine, many exercises can be converted to a home-friendly workout, even if you don't have equipment. There are so many yoga, pilates and weight training videos on YouTube to follow along with if you aren’t sure of a routine, and many of them require bodyweight only. It's not ideal to work out from home, but you can swing a few weeks of it. Maintaining your active lifestyle will help your overall sense of wellness during this time. 

    Related: 7 YouTube Workouts That Are Easy to Follow While You're Stuck at Home

Follow these tips throughout the next few weeks, and you’ll be able to stay on track with goals you set pre-quaratine. Although this adjustment isn’t easy, we are all in this together doing it for our family, friends, and neighbors. You still have the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle while stuck inside and social distancing. Share these tips with your roommates, friends, and family so you can stay on track together.