Now that winter is finally receding, it’s time to think about how you can stay healthy this Spring! For those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, the increased sunlight helps the body adjust immensely. However, all students can benefit from increasing their exposure to sunlight during the spring and summer months. So how can students stay healthy and happy? We’ve got some tips to help allay student fears regarding unhealthy behaviors.
Check out these five important tips to increasing and maintaining healthy outlooks.
Everyone knows that students don’t always keep healthy diets, whether they live on or off campus. Ramen noodles may be delicious, but they certainly aren’t very healthy. And unless you’re eating fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal, you are likely not getting the wide array of healthy vitamins that the body needs and in the amounts it needs them to positively affect your health. So what can students do to stay healthy? Take a variety of vitamins! A regular multi-vitamin is great, but increasing other, more specific vitamins, can be great for specific areas of health. For example, vitamin C is an antioxidant and can help your body ward off colds. Vitamin B12 can help increase energy; actually, a vitamin containing a B complex is a great idea for naturally increasing energy as well as a healthy metabolism. Keep in mind that some vitamins are fat soluble while others are water soluble — read the labels so you know which vitamins should be taken with food for maximum absorption. Not all vitamins are created equal; look at reviews and try to purchase vitamins with the phrase “bioavailable” — this means the body is better able to absorb them.
A key factor in staying healthy as a student is being aware of your mental health. Being knowledgeable about the severe symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression provides students with the information they need to recognize if their healthy mental state declines. Declining mental health can lead to a variety of issues including negative sleep patterns, eating disorders, and social issues among other problems. Take the time to check in with yourself on a weekly basis to assess your stress, anxiety, and depression levels. If you begin to notice changes in your emotions or behavior, it’s a healthy idea to talk with someone. Talk with a friend or trusted professor. Many colleges and universities offer free counseling appointments to students as well. If you’re living in a residence hall, your resident assistant or RA exists as an excellent resource as well to help you take care of your mental health.
Remember: being healthy isn’t just about being physically healthy — it’s also about being mentally healthy.
The body’s hormones play a large role in how we think, feel, and act. If your hormones begin to feel out of whack, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your healthcare professional to check if your hormone levels are healthy. Elevated hormone levels can contribute to growing stress. They can also disrupt good sleeping patterns. Hormonal imbalances can also lead to overeating and weight gain. Additionally, they can negatively impact the immune system and cause an individual to pick up more colds or viruses than normal. Beyond causing physical issues, hormones can also negatively affect healthy mental states as well. If you feel “off” but can’t quite put your finger on it, hormones may be to blame. A blood test can accurately pinpoint your hormone levels and see if they are operating within healthy levels. If the test returns imbalanced hormones, your doctor may discuss dietary changes or medication to help your body regulate itself better.
No one likes colds! Stay healthy by avoiding colds at all costs.
Here are several great ways to stop colds in their tracks before they get started and maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your face when you’ve been in public places.
- Sneeze into your elbow, and encourage others to do the same.
- Bolster your immune system with antioxidant vitamins including vitamins A,C, and E.
- Take supplements such as Echinacea and Black Elderberry that supports the immune system.
- Drink lots of water.
- Reduce stress.
- Exercise regularly.
While none of these tips is a guarantee against the common cold, combining them can greatly fortify the body against colds by staying healthy. And if you manage to catch a pesky cold, it will likely have a shorter duration!
An important part of keeping students healthy is meeting deadlines. Failing to meet academic deadlines, whether they are for papers, projects, group work, or tests, causes a great deal of stress. Planning ahead and using time wisely is the best way to meet deadlines and thus have a better change at earning the grades you want instead of settling for lower grades. The best way to meet deadlines is to plan and stick to your plan. If you find you need an extension for any reason, contact your teacher or professor as soon as possible and professionally explain the situation in a reasonable manner. Meeting deadlines is simply a part of life, regardless of the career you go into after college. Start now and learn how to best manage your time to meet the deadlines your professor outlines throughout the class.
Need some help with time management? Check out the top productivity apps!
Staying healthy and happy this Spring isn’t a magical process! You have control over your physical, mental, and emotional health. Exercise and eat well to be physically healthy. Reduce stress and engage in self care to be mentally and emotionally healthy. However, perhaps most importantly, listen to yourself. Your body and mind know when you’ve pushed too far or begin to feel off.
Listen to your own inner intuition and seek the appropriate help if you feel ill physically or mentally. Don’t avoid problems —solve them!
Remember: you are the most important person in your life and you need to step up and take care of yourself so you can stay healthy and happy this Spring.