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6 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

6 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

College can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a very stressful one. If you don’t take the time to maintain your health, you may find yourself running out of steam before the semester is through. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to help keep you in tip-top shape so that you can perform at your best and get the most out of your education.

1. Make the Right Food Choices

Everyone has heard of the “freshman 15,” alluding to the weight gain most incoming freshmen experience during their first year in school. Much of this is attributed to being in full control of your food choices for the first time. Most student diets are full of pizza, burgers, and beer. These types of food can leave you feeling sluggish as they are not healthy food choices.

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By making your diet a priority, you can make sure you are consuming all of the nutrients you need to support optimal health. It can also help you fight off weight gain while maintaining your energy. Don’t skip breakfast, even if all you can squeeze in is a banana, ensure you are getting your daily doses of fruits and vegetables, lean meats or proteins, and top it off with healthy fats. That way, you can be sure you are eating well-rounded food choices which are crucial to maintaining your health.

2. Avoid All-Nighters

Sleep is also critical to health. Staying up late every night cramming for tests, or partying with other college students won’t give you the ability to fight off disease, or even to focus properly. Try to arrange your schedule to allow for a full eight hours of sleep every night. If you absolutely must miss some sleep, see if you can fit a nap into your schedule the next day to make up for some of the difference.

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3. Get Your Shots

No, not the alcoholic kind – the kind that can save your life one day. It is easy to take a minute to get a flu shot and is highly recommended for those living in dorms. The close quarters make it easier for disease to spread. Getting your flu shot can make you immune to some of the strains that are expected to be particularly powerful that year. That means that even if your roommate catches it, you should be able to skip it.

4. Hydrate for Health

Just as making the right food choices is challenging for some students, remembering to stay hydrated can be even harder. Make sure that most of what you are drinking is plain water, or consider decaffeinated tea if you prefer some flavor (as long as you skip the sugar). Avoid having too many sodas and excessive alcohol consumption.

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5. Stay Active

Some people, when they go away to school, don’t keep active. Many spend their nights partying, drinking, playing video games etc. There are very few who take the time to go out and get some exercise. Staying active and doing a few exercises per week can really help to keep healthy. Even if it’s joining a school sports team or a club team, try to do something active at least once a week.

6. Kick Back and Relax

Every now and then, you need to stop and put your feet up. Relaxation can be critical to your overall health – both mental and physical. It helps you fight stress and gives you a way to break from the educational routine.

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Now, you don’t have to just sit there and do nothing. Choose activities that help you feel at ease. For someone people, spending time with friends can be rejuvenating, while others may prefer curling up with a good book. The most important part is to take the time to recharge, no matter what that means. Your body will thank you for it.

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Shelly Green

Entrepreneur writer and a blogger

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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