Illustration by Maggie Slepian
College is a time to learn, grow, make new friends, and ultimately receive that diploma everyone works so hard for. At the same time, university life poses challenges that may lead to health problems. According to the American College Health Association, the top five health issues for college students are:
- Stress (anxiety, depression)
- Lack of sleep
- Infectious diseases (colds, flu, sinus infection, strep throat)
- Weight gain
- Drug abuse
Each of these problems can be greatly improved by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle. Here are some simple guidelines to ensure a healthy school year.
Prioritize your schedule and don’t forget to study. You can only store five to seven pieces of information in your short term memory so put all of your major deadlines onto one calendar and begin studying early. Take study breaks. Constant studying does not improve retention so dedicate a certain amount of time each day for recreation; just 20 minutes a day can change your outlook. Avoid pulling all-nighters. Get eight hours of sleep, most nights.
You are what you eat—if you put garbage in, expect garbage out. Minimize processed foods and avoid refined sugars. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, which have essential nutrients for growth, repair, and development. Don’t forget about your omega- 3s; they’re vital for every cell in your body and crucial for memory, concentration, cognitive ability, muscle coordination, immunity, and strength.
This means exercise and posture. Exercise comes in many forms and can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes five days a week. Benefits include weight management, improved immunity, better concentration, reduced stress, and reduced risk of disease. Posture has been linked with depression, decreased energy, and is even a determining factor for future success in business. So stand up, sit up, and listen up.