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How to Avoid Stresses and Serious Health Problems Being a Busy and Working Student

How to Avoid Stresses and Serious Health Problems Being a Busy and Working Student

It is a stunning and unfortunate truth that college students today face a wide variety of physical and mental health challenges that are so severe that they are now considered to be a public health issue. These challenges impact physical, mental, and emotional health. College student health and stress concerns a range from food insecurity to sexual assault. These dangers are difficult for any student to face no matter what their situation is, however, students who work on top of going to school may be at greater risk.

Because they have more strenuous schedules and demands on their time, working students may find it difficult to stay on top of their physical and mental well-being or to successfully manage stress factors. The results of this can include such disturbing issues as increased drug and alcohol use, hospitalizations for mental health issues, increased risk for minor illnesses becoming true health crises, dropping out of school, weight gain, suicide attempts, and more.

If you are, or if you know a working student, take a moment to review the following tips. Following them, especially when life is most strenuous, is extremely important. Because we know that time, money, energy levels, and stress can make it impossible to be perfect, each point includes a bit of a shortcut advice for those who are unable to make big changes.

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Remember That Food Is Fuel

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    Sadly, many students only become concerned with the food that they eat when it begins impacting their waistline. While this isn’t a bad thing, weight management is important after all, it does demonstrate how eating right is often neglected. This is too bad, because proper nutrition impacts physical health, academic performance, and there are important associations between food and comfort and overall well-being. Check out these tips for keeping a healthy diet.

    • Raw fruits and vegetables can be cut up and kept in the fridge for snacking with hummus, salsa, or other healthy dips
    • Salads can be purchased at local grocery stores and delis
    • Yogurt, cheese sticks, and hard boiled eggs are convenient options for keeping full and meeting daily protein and dairy requirements
    • Lentils, rice, oatmeal, beans and other similar items can be bought in bulk, are extraordinarily inexpensive, nutritious, and extremely versatile.
    • One rotisserie chicken purchased at your grocery store can be used to add protein to salads, add meat and heft to casseroles, act as the protein element in several sandwiches, and the carcass can be used for soup.

    Maybe your energy levels are too low, or your stress levels are too high for you to implement the suggestions above. Maybe you don’t have funds or access to make ideal food decisions. That’s okay! You still deserve to be as healthy as possible:

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    • Hunger is a scary thing, but there are people who want to help.
      • Check local food banks.
      • See if your school has a soup kitchen for students.
      • Look for discount grocers in your area such as Aldi or Save-a-Lot.
      • Consider applying for food stamps.
    • If you are broke and too overwhelmed to cook, consider these convenience tips:
      • While not ideal, there are frozen dinners that are organic, GMO-free and relatively healthy.
      • A cheap meal, such as ramen, can be made more complete and healthy with the simple addition of a half a cup of frozen vegetables, boiled in the water with the noodles.
      • The microwave can be used to steam frozen vegetables, bake sweet potatoes, or make healthy versions of whole wheat pizzas.

    Recognize And Get Help For Any Mental Health Issues That You Face

    Mental Health

      Let’s get this out of the way right now. If you are feeling disconnected, anxious, scared, sad, paranoid, angry, or alone, please understand that you are not being dramatic. You are not seeking attention. You are not lacking in self-discipline.

      Any resource about health tips for college students should include mental health resources. For a wide variety of reasons, the college years are high risk for students who might deal with mental health issues that are either situational or clinical. Managing stress at this point is particularly important because the combination of stress and mental illness, can quite frankly, be deadly.

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      If you have mental health concerns please consider:

      • Setting an appointment with a mental health expert.
      • Asking your parent to set you up with counseling via their company’s EAP program.
      • Discussing your options with your primary care provider.

      If you are really struggling, either with your disease, time or finances, here are some suggestions for you:

      • Learn what you need to do when it comes to self-care.
      • Let supportive friends and family know when you need help.
      • Look into on-campus support groups.
      • Consider going to a sliding scale clinic that deals with mental health issues.

      Take It Easy And Know When You Are Overindulging When It Comes To Partying

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      Party

        There is nothing wrong with cutting loose, but overdoing it can be a sign that you have gone too far. If you are drinking or smoking, be honest with yourself. Are you having fun, or are you trying to cope? Are you putting yourself or others at risk? Now, let us be even more honest. Use of dangerous drugs such as opiates and amphetamines are at an all-time high on college campuses. If you need help, please avail yourself to the available campus treatment options.

        On the other hand, students can truly suffer from mental illness, and be without support. If this is you, please contact a 12-step program. Those are always free, and can be truly educational and safe spaces for students dealing with addiction.

        Conclusion

        Even if you believe that you are on an emotional upswing, please take care of yourself on campus. Better yet, make taking care of others a true priority. Then, no matter what happens, remember that there is no shame in seeking help. Please use the above tips to help you if you are in a difficult situation, or if you need help navigating the stressors of college education

        Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 66.media.tumblr.com

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        Dante Munnis

        content manager

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

          Why You Need a Vision

          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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          How to Create Your Life Vision

          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

          What Do You Want?

          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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          Some tips to guide you:

          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
          • Give yourself permission to dream.
          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

          Some questions to start your exploration:

          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
          • What qualities would you like to develop?
          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
          • What would you most like to accomplish?
          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

          A few prompts to get you started:

          • What will you have accomplished already?
          • How will you feel about yourself?
          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
          • What does your ideal day look like?
          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
          • What would you be doing?
          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
          • How are you dressed?
          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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          Plan Backwards

          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
          • What important actions would you have had to take?
          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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