College students don’t have time to be sick! Make the most of your college years by staying healthy and active. These tips will start you on your way to wellbeing.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Sure, the temptations to stay out late, hang with friends, and hit the bars are hard to deny. Do yourself a favor, and limit your late nights. Your body and brain need rest to function properly. Lack of sleep will affect things like thought processing, memory, and coordination. Young adults (18-25 years) need, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep per 24-hour period to function optimally. Some may require even more, particularly those who are physically active. So, at least occasionally, turn down the party invitations, turn of the lights and enjoy a sweet, and refreshing full nights sleep!
It’s a cliché, but you know what they say about “all work”, don’t you? Even the top college students need to recharge with fun once in a while. Get outside, join a sports team, or just toss a ball with friends. Play gives your brain a break, and fresh air and exercise are good for… well, everything! If you don’t get a kick out of team sports try a brisk walk, a swim, or flying a kite. As long as you are in the great outdoors, and doing something active, your body and brain will benefit.
The college years can be challenging emotionally. School pressures mount, relationships become complicated, and for some, deaths and other family tragedies become grown-up realities. Avoid the temptation to suppress negative feelings. Facing up to things that upset you, or cause anxiety, will help you move through difficulties more quickly and with less stress. If you need help managing your feelings, or the pressures seem too much to bear, visit a college counselor. Most campuses provide helpfully, and confidential counseling services to help you with personal or educational issues.
Drinking and smoking, sexual relationships, and other risky activities are part of the college experience for many students. It’s possible to lower the risks with a little knowledge and planning ahead. For example, drinking with buddies may sound like a super way to spend Friday night, but you better make a plan for getting home safely. Similarly, STDs are rampant on college campuses. Prepare yourself with protection that you know how to use. You only have one body, take care of it accordingly.
Wash Your Hands
This is the simplest health promotion advice you will ever read. Every surface you touch on your campus has likely been touched by hundreds of students before you. Yuck! Frequent hand washing reduces the likelihood that you will transfer germs and bacteria from dirty surfaces to your face, and into your body. You should wash your hands, at minimum, every time you use the washroom, before and after you eat, and when you arrive at a new location (such as arriving at school, or getting home at the end of the day – don’t even talk to me about the germs on buses!). This is an easy way to lower your risk of viruses, or other communicable illnesses.
Stay healthy during the college years. Sleep, play, share your feelings, reduce risks, and remember to wash your hands!