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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 September 18, 2020

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

        Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

        1. Exercise Daily

        It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

        If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

        Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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        If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

        2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

        Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

        One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

        This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

        3. Acknowledge Your Limits

        Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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        Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

        Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

        4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

        Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

        The basic nutritional advice includes:

        • Eat unprocessed foods
        • Eat more veggies
        • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
        • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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        Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

          5. Watch Out for Travel

          Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

          This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

          If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

          6. Start Slow

          Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

          If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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          7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

          Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

          My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

          If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

          I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

          Final Thoughts

          Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

          Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

          More Tips on Getting in Shape

          Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

          Reference

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