7 Step Wellness Plan
ADMIT IT: THERE ARE TIMES when being sick in bed is comforting. Maybe Mom brings you chicken noodle soup and orange juice, and you have no responsibilities except to watch game shows all day.
College is different. Your mom isn’t there to coddle you, and your roommate probably just wants to get as far away from your germs as possible.
You’ll hear your dormmates having fun and feel overwhelmed by the number of tests you need to make up later. Being sick in college just isn’t the same. So follow these tips to help keep yourself healthy.
- EAT NUTRITIOUS FOODS. This is often easier said than done, especially with limited finances and space to cook. But meal plans are your friend, and college menus have come a long way since your parents were in school. Since many meals are now cooked to order, you can request light sauce on your stir-fry, no cheese on your turkey burger, or skim milk in your smoothie.
- PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID TEMPTATION. If you’re going to have a long day packed full of classes or a late night at a party with lots of junk food, be sure to pack some nutritious snacks to avoid spontaneous trips to the vending machine, late-night pizza delivery or a table full of chips and soda. Trail mix, nuts, pre-packaged crackers and peanut butter, fruit and granola bars can be just enough to fill you up until you can eat a nutritious meal.
- GET PLENTY OF SLEEP. For many college students, being tired is synonymous with caffeine loading. But multiple espressos or energy drinks aren’t good for your body and you’ll start relying on them to keep you awake. Invest in some blackout curtains, earplugs and a sleep mask.
- FIND STRESS OUTLETS. Nothing sends you running for comfort food like stress! Consider meditation, yoga, walks, naps or leisure reading to help you decompress on a regular basis. If you have a massage school on campus or nearby, you might even be able to get free (or very cheap) massages!
- TAKE VITAMINS. Everyone’s needs are different, so you’ll want to consult a dietitian, but chances are you’re not getting 100 percent of the vitamins and minerals you need from food. At the very least, consider taking some vitamin C to boost your immune system.
- REDUCE YOUR GERM EXPOSURE. Dorms are close living quarters, and if you live in a climate with a true winter, you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors. Wash your hands frequently and carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer for those times you can’t get to the sink.
- EXERCISE. Besides helping you fight the Freshman 15, regular exercise can keep you healthy. It can help you fight stress, illness and depression. You don’t need to head to the gym or run five miles a day. Even brisk walking has been shown to have great benefits.
Take control of your health and wellness. Mom can still pamper you over Thanksgiving break!