Updated on September 20th, 2018
With the semester in full swing, it’s common to say “this is your time” — only to find yourself in the same old routine of binge-watching Netflix and waiting until the absolute last minute for hours worth of work.
And while “adulting” sounds like something we’d rather hold off on for a little bit, having a healthy, balanced lifestyle while still engulfing in the college experience (even if that includes binge-watching) is entirely possible with the right habits. Here’s how:
1. Get Into A Routine (Especially With Sleep)
No matter if it’s binging on Fortnite or grinding on a study session, it’s easy to stay up late in college.
And while we often make the sporadic decision to sleep in the next day or take a nap after class, not nailing down a solid routine can hurt you quite a bit in the long run.
Not only can it become a slippery slope concerning your performance in class, but t can also take a toll on your health.
And as noted by a study conducted by the University of Georgia, with the average college student only taking in 6 to 6.9 hours of sleep on average, this is potentially setting a precedent that can lead you to fall behind in your post-grad life.
A simple but wildly effective suggestion is to pick one time to wake up every day and stick with it.
No matter if you’re hanging with friends or need to get some cramming done the night before a test, this will teach you how to have a starting and ending point every day that’s always the same.
Granted, as college is a time for you to explore and have fun, this won’t always be a steadfast rule, but one that’s well worth it as a long-term mantra.
2. Prepare Ahead
Another smart strategy for making this semester great is by preparing ahead as much as you can.
Even though this doesn’t necessarily mean you always need to be highlighting and organizing notes for hours at a time, it’s good to start thinking a day or two ahead in regards to what your itinerary looks like, lending room for any roadblocks that might come ahead.
Plus, as noted by the Heritage Foundation, with the average student spending approximately 2.76 hours studying per day, most students aren’t always incredibly busy.
Believe it or not, one of the most important lessons you can learn in college is how to ask for things.
No matter if it’s getting some history homework help or going to the school’s nutritionist to learn how to lose weight, this is a time where there’s the rare opportunity to have access to whatever you need (practically for free).
Take the time to plan these goals out and assess what steps might need to be taken to succeed, as planning out where your strengths and weaknesses are is a trait you’ll thank yourself for later down the road.
3. Hit The Gym
If you ask any college graduate what things they wish they did more in school, one of their top choices would probably be hitting the gym.
After all, the facilities of most colleges are far nicer to what you’ll find in a $10-40 per month gym, especially when you factor in the free classes, equipment rentals, and even types of amenities, like having a pool or a rock wall.
And with such top-notch activities, this not only a great time to take advantage but to form some healthy habits as well, because as noted by the Department of Health and Human Services, less than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
However, by finding what exercises you like now, you’ll be well on your way to forming lifelong passions for a healthier lifestyle.
4. Eat Smart Foods
“You are what you eat” is more than just an expression; food is probably one of the biggest factors to both your physical and mental health.
Even though we generally think of diet as primarily affecting your physical health, the mental component can play a significant role in your day-to-day as well.
In fact, according to a study by Harvard Health comparing different diets, the Mediterranean diet (which consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil) was found to reduce the risk of depression by 25 to 35 percent in comparison to the Western Diet (which consists of high intakes of red meat, processed meat, pre-packed foods, fried foods, refined grains, starches, and sugars).
This is because our body is incredibly reactionary to what we eat.
While it’s easy to get carried away at the dining hall, it’s wise to start being more mindful of what you eat, including noting how it makes you feel afterward.
Furthermore, it’s also a wise decision to start planning your diet based around what you have to do that day; for example, if you have a heavy day of studying ahead, then eating ‘brain foods’ like avocados or nuts can be a wise choice both on how your energy levels will feel as well as in staying sharp.
While this isn’t to say you can’t indulge at the dining hall here and there, avoiding that ‘Freshman 15’ (even if you’re an upperclassman) is one part of the college experience you’ll be thankful you missed.
What are some tips you’ve found helpful in having an amazing semester? Comment with your answers below!