College is a master class in balance, which most of us fail. Physical and mental health almost always take the back burner in terms of priority, and by the time you finally realize it, you’re at a loss on how to make it better.
Between class work, jobs, socialization, athletics, and dealing with major FOMO, your health is the lowest on the list of importance. Prioritizing your health, however, is most likely a lot easier than you think, and making your health a priority will benefit you in all areas of your life!
Exercise, and make it fun
One of the great things about college is all the classes, clubs, and resources available to students. Whether you join a team sport, sign up for your school’s spirit squad, or find a workout partner that actually holds you accountable, there IS something that you’ll enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try something new. College is the perfect time to discover a hidden talent or new hobby. If it also includes a little cardio, that’s just a plus and your body will thank you.
Spend time with friends
This is especially important if you’re an extrovert, but you don’t have to be an extrovert to reap the benefits. Studies have shown time and time again that our quality of life is improved significantly if we have a friend or friends to spend time with. If your friend is also someone who is trying to prioritize their health, you’re even better off. You’ll have someone to push you to reach your goals and someone to hold you accountable in leading a healthier lifestyle. Meal plan together and check in with each other often. Walk to classes together if possible and be sure to have conversations to ensure you’re not letting the stress and anxiety that comes with college get the best of you.
Spend time alone
I know this contradicts everything I just said, but having alone time is equally as important as spending time with friends. In college, you’ll probably say yes to every social event possible and, in turn, overbook yourself and spread yourself way too thin. Making sure you plan for some alone time allows you to check in with yourself and ensure that you’re not on the brink of a major crash or anxiety attack. Listen to what your body is telling you and consider how you’ve been feeling. If you’re exhausted all the time even though you get 8+ hours of sleep each night, maybe you’re starting to feel the effects of burnout or depression. If you’re irritable and snapping at people left and right, maybe you’re a little more stressed than you thought. Deficiencies in your mental health also often present physical symptoms. Slowing down and getting in tune with your body and mental state will allow you to discover what is causing all of your physical and mental health troubles, and give you time to fix the issues.
Your health is fundamental in ensuring your success in college. Learning that you don’t have to say “yes” to every invitation, what your body actually needs, and all of the ways to make self-care fun are habits and skills that will outlast your college days and serve you well into your future.