College is arguably the best, most exciting time of your life. You’re surrounded by so many young people trying to figure themselves out just as you are. If its anything like my college experience, a square mile of land containing roughly 25,000 undergrads, then its also a giant melting pot of cultures, ideas, food and
too much lots of fun.
But it can also be stressful, overwhelming and hard. Finding your people and your place amongst it all , along with hours and hours of studying, late night cookie-wiches (I miss you IV Drip) all-nighters and a few too many alcoholic beverages. Finding a healthy balance of all of those things can be really challenging.
Here are some of the things that I learned to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a crazy college student life.
1. Visualize your day.
Spend a few minutes each morning to plan out your day. It helped me to balance my school, work and social life when I planned out in my head, or wrote down, what I wanted my day to look like. So wake up a few minutes earlier, make a cup of coffee and think about what you want to accomplish that day.
I know what you’re thinking. “Duh, Lacey way to state the obvious.” Yes, BUT, as a college student, I know how easy it can be to skip your workouts, hit your snooze button or if you go to USCB, go tan on the beach instead. Keeping up with a workout routine not only helps you to stay fit but also is a HUGE stress reliever and serves as a nice little study break. Having roommates was great but sometimes I needed some alone time. Running became that escape for me, a place and time where I could just let go, think and de-stress (having this view wasn’t too shabby either).
Also, as a college student there is most likely a gym on campus which means you most likely have full access to it. I didn’t really start utilizing this until my junior year. Now wish I had taken more advantage of this as I am finding you actually have to pay for gym memberships in your adult life. Whomp. Anywho. Your campus gym most likely offers tons of free classes that are waiting for you to try out! Yoga, spin, body pump, zumba, sports clubs, go try one out, I dare you.
My school offered fitness classes you could take for units. I ended up taking a ballroom dancing class and continually taking the gymnastics class and loved it. Working out for units? What could be better!
3. Cook your own food.
If you’re living in a college town, you’re probably surrounded by fast food-type places, that are open late and serve comfort style food. Do yourself some good (and your wallet too) and cook your own meals at home. If you shop smart, you can eat healthy on a college student budget and become an excellent cook in the process Having roommates is an added plus because you have lots of taste testers and people to share your cooking experience with!
4. Educate yo’ self.
Take a nutrition class! I knew close to nothing about the nutrients I needed to be fueling my body with, not only for exercise performance but for feeding my mind as well. My school offered a nutrition class that I took my freshman year, which changed my whole view on eating and made me really think about the things I was putting in my body. There’s also tons of information on the internet, start reading fitness/health blogs, looking through pinterest or watch some documentaries. A few of my favorite are Fed Up, Food Inc., and Fast Food Nation.
5. Find some work-out buddies.
Having people to run or workout with not only helps with motivation, it makes it a whole lot harder to hit the snooze button when you know you’re meeting someone at 7am to run AND it also helps to create and deepen friendships! Long runs are a great platform for life talks and getting to know someone. Some of my best friends are those that I’ve made through running, and when you share that passion with someone you can equally challenge and push each other. My friend and I trained for a marathon together last year, something I never could’ve done alone.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
This was huge for me. It took me a while to find my people, a group of friends that really cared about me and that I enjoyed being around, that I felt I could be 100% myself around and share my life with. The good and the bad. What’s great about college is that there are literally thousands of people around you to choose from, sometimes it just takes a bit of time to find the right ones. This group of people (+a few more) changed my life. I couldn’t be more grateful for them.
7. Walk or bike everywhere.
Fortunately my school was huge biking campus, with bike paths running through campus, giant bike parking lots and bike roundabouts (that proved nightmare-ish the first week every quarter when newbie freshman decided to give them a try, usually ending up in 12 bike pile-ups and plenty scraped knees). The biking culture made exercise so easy, as I spent up to an hour of my day biking to and from all my classes! Even if you don’t have a campus like this, most college campus’s have great walking paths, so ditch driving to class and walk, you’ll burn calories AND help the environment. Go you.
8. Take time out of your day to do something you love.
Run, journal, read, join a club, volunteer, play or listen to music, go watch the sunset! One of the most important thing about health is to make time to actually enjoy the life you’re living. As a college student I spent a lot of time stressing about tests and papers and not nearly as much time appreciating the life that I’ve been given and the beautiful setting I got to live it in. Taking time for yourself allows you to gain perspective on your life and allow you to focus on things that really matter.
Hopefully these tips can help you through your college experience, let me know what you think!
What are some of the things you do to stay healthy in college or at work?