Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s better to stay healthy and keep these tips in mind rather than get sick and miss valuable days. Fall is right around the corner, which means cold and flu season is coming with it. Whether you’re at a large university or a smaller college, you’ll be interacting with a number of people throughout your day, and we all know how quickly a virus can spread.
Follow these tips and tricks to keep yourself healthy and at your best during the college years.
Ok let’s start with this one. Everyone knows about the Freshman 15 myth and the stereotypes about college students eating only Ramen, leftover pizza, and late-night-study-session junk food. Eating healthy in college can be a challenge, but it’s one not to overlook or give up on. Eating healthy means not only practicing portion control (an all-you-can-eat cafeteria with a self-serve ice cream machine can be a dangerous temptation) but also ensuring that your diet is a balanced one.
When you have a healthy diet, you’ll feel better and your immune system will be stronger. A steady intake of fatty or sugary foods will do just the opposite. Moderation and balance are key. (And yes, it’s ok if you sneak some candy or a pizza party every once in a while.)
There are a number of ways to keep in shape on campus. Most schools have rec centers where students can lift weights, run on a track, swim, or utilize a number of different exercise equipment. Oftentimes they’ll also offer classes like Zumba, Yoga, or even karate. Participating in sports or intramural games are another great way to keep active during college.
If you don’t find yourself with a lot of extra time, there are other ways to give yourself a little work out during the day. There are a number of exercises you can do in the comfort of your dorm room. Try walking or biking to all your classes rather than taking a bus. Once again, a strong immune system will thank you for the effort.
Wash Your Hands
Yes, yes, we know we sound like a nagging mother. You hands touch hundreds of different things other people touch per day, like door handles, and an easy way to counteract those germs is to just wash your hands frequently. It also helps to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag for germ-fighting on the go.
Ah, sleep. In college it feels like you get precious little of it. If you’re not up late studying or finishing a paper, it seems like someone decides it’d be a great idea to pull the fire alarm at two in the morning (how is this even still a prank?). To be at your peak performance, you need a good amount of restful sleep. Employ whatever means necessary to get some shut-eye—if that includes a sleeping mask or earplugs, go for it. A rested immune system is a happy one.
Water bottles are a student’s best friend—and given the sheer amount of student orgs or orientation events hand them out for free, there’s no excuse to say you don’t have one. Drinking water is a simple way to keep healthy. Not only will you be plenty hydrated, you also flush out toxins when you, well, go. Drinking water can also curb pesky hunger cravings that tempt you to reach for unhealthy snacks.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
This includes things like smoking, excessive drinking, and even guzzling down caffeine. College can be a time where you might be tempted to pick up bad habits in order to fit in or experiment—this can through health right out the window. And when health declines, so to will grades and motivation. Be smart and know that your education comes first and foremost—you’re paying for it, after all, you should want to get the most of your academics.
Stay Up-to-Date with Doctor’s Appointments
Most colleges have an on-campus quick-care center where you can go when you feel sick. There are typically nearby hospitals for emergencies as well. Don’t be afraid to visit for even regular check-ups. Quick-care centers can also be ideal for grabbing a flu shot or flu mist when the time comes. Keep up to date with all your necessary vaccinations and medicines, you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
If You’re Sick—Stay Home!
If worse comes to worse and you come down with a bug, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and just stay at home. It’s a pain in the butt to miss even one class since things move pretty quickly in college, but dragging yourself across campus when you feel sick to your stomach or downright miserable won’t really help you. Better take a day to rest up, drink plenty of fluids, visit the doctor, and heat up some chicken noodle soup. Most professors will over two or three excused sick days over the course of the semester. Use those when needed and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
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