Seven Tips to a Healthier, Happier You
Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012 19:03
As hectic classes, a demanding workload and the winter blues aim to keep us down, it’s easy to find yourself feeling overworked and tired of the mundane ins and outs. Although balancing college life can get overwhelming, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, first and foremost. Here are seven easy tips to keep yourself in check:
- Drink water. We’ve all heard the recommendation: “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day”. Drinking water helps keep you hydrated, promotes healthy, glowing skin, flushes toxins out of your vital organs and best of all, it’s sugar-, calorie-, sodium-, fat-, (need I go on) free! When you’re dozing off during that dull lecture, you can’t splash Gatorade in your face; so instead of grabbing that Coke, Snapple or Starbucks, carry around a bottle of water with you to classes – guilt free. If you’re someone that can’t take the bland, try flavored waters to mix up the boring.
- Get plenty of sleep. It’s a pretty established fact: most college kids don’t get nearly enough sleep as they should. Adults are recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy. The quality and quantity of your sleep directly affects your mental sharpness, productivity, energy, emotional balance, physical vitality and even your weight. Not getting enough sleep can have some detrimental effects including: moodiness, lethargy, lack of motivation, stress, reduced immunity, weight gain, concentration and memory problems, impaired motor skills, difficulty making decisions, increased risk for health problems and much more. For these reasons, it’s important to make getting an adequate amount of sleep a priority.
- Turn off the electronics. To go along with getting ample amounts of sleep, power down your electronics at the end of the day. Researchers say that electronics, like the TV and cell phones, could be getting in the way of our sleep because these electronics stimulate brain activity that prevents our brains from winding down to a state where it can easily relax into a deep sleep. In addition, the unnatural light from TV screens or computers prevent the brain from making neurotransmitters that encourage healthy sleep. From cell phones, laptops, iPods, videogames, televisions, and the like, the rule to follow is no electronics an hour before bed. Instead, try journaling or reading a book – both of which are noted to induce sleepiness.
- Laugh. We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and well, it’s true and easy enough! Laughing has many positive affects on the body. It releases endorphins, helps you relax, release tensions and anxieties, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, relieves pain and boosts your mood, as well as the function of your immune system. If you laugh enough, it works your abs muscles too! So whether it’s hanging out with friends who make you laugh, watching Jenna Marbles videos or hearing that joke that always hits your funny bone, it’s important to be able to have a good time and laugh a lot.
- Exercise. According to the CDC, adults are recommended to get at least 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity. The more you do, the more health benefits. Exercise benefits the mind and body in so many ways: It combats diseases and health problems, controls weight, helps to relieve stress and anxiety, improves mood, boosts energy, helps self-esteem, promotes better sleep, improves stamina, enhances flexibility and much more. Whether you do yoga, run, hit up a Zumba class, lift weights, walk around the Common or take the stairs instead of the elevators, every little bit counts and helps!
- Set goals and make lists. College can be chaotic and overwhelming, between balancing sports, clubs, events, classes, friends, social life (and don’t forget about those family commitments back home now and again); it can be a lot to manage. The best way to keep it all under control and to stay organized, is to keep a planner. Writing things down helps you remember them and keeps track of what you’ve done and what still needs to be finished. Making “To Do” lists and setting weekly goals for yourself can help keep you organized and stress free.
- Be confident. Having confidence in college is key and really comes down to having a positive outlook and attitude. People want to be around others who are optimistic and self-assured. It’s an important characteristic to being happy and successful because people who are confident generally believe they can accomplish anything, are less likely to give up after a failure, see opportunities that others don’t, can overcome challenges and diversity, inspire others and aren’t afraid to try new and exciting things. Remember confidence, not cockiness!
College, with all its ups and downs, highs and lows, and ins and outs, can be both frantic and fantastic. As you approach the homestretch of this semester, remember these seven simple tips and you will be on your way to a healthier, happier you!