If you want to get A’s at college, you need to get your ZZZZs! Here are a few easy ways to stay healthy at college, and avoid the flu, feelings of depression, and even weight gain.
“College is the best time of your life,” said David Wood. “When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?”
That is definitely not the way to stay healthy in college. I think all students should read The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College — it’s full of fun tips for coping with college problems.
Once you start learning how to stay healthy at college, it’s a piece of cake. It’s an upward spiral, and these tips are designed to send you to the moon! The healthier you are, the more you’ll enjoy college. The more you enjoy college, the happier you’ll be – and the more A’s you’ll get.
These tips for staying healthy at college are from Dr. Jane Horton, director of student health and counseling at Washington and Lee University.
8 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy at College
If this is your first year of college, read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students. I remember feeling stressed and scared the whole first week of university because I was worried about money. Learning what types of jobs you can find will help you stay healthy and empowered.
Are you homesick, scared, or stressed? Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. One of the best ways cope with stress and homesickness is to get and stay as healthy as possible – because your physical health directly affects your emotional and spiritual health.
Have a physical exam before starting college
Washington and Lee University requires all students to have a physical, and Dr. Horton believes it’s an important part of staying healthy at college.
She says, “For an 18-year-old going off to school, this may be the first time that they’ve had an opportunity to sit down with a physician one-on-one and talk about things like sexual health, tobacco use and alcohol use without a parent present, and with a clinician who can give them advice about those things.”
A physical exam not only ensures your physical health, it eases your mind and helps you realize that you’re healthy enough to bear the load of a stressful semester! Go to the student health clinic; they’re often free for students, and they’ve heard it all before. Staying healthy at college doesn’t get easier than this.
Talk to your doctor about recommended immunizations and vaccinations for college students
An easy way to stay healthy at college is to get a flu shot in the fall. Dr. Horton says student health centers will be doing more outreach than ever to see that students get vaccinated against the flu – both the normal seasonal shot and the H1N1 vaccine.
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“We expect the H1N1 to be a two-shot regimen. That means we’ll want to try to get as many students possible to have all three flu shots,” she said.
Expect your parents to bring up awkward discussions about alcohol, drugs and sexual activity
“These are discussions that may be difficult for parents to initiate,” Horton said. “But it’s so important to have clear, honest conversations about expectations. Parents need to be aware that things are going to change and need to keep the avenues of communications open [to help students stay healthy at college].”
The best way to handle these awkward discussions is to listen to your parents’ concerns, and say that you’ll follow their advice. Tell them you want to stay as healthy as possible in college, and you won’t shrug off their tips. Reassure them; they love you and only want the best for you.
Check your health insurance
Families need to be aware, says Horton, of what kind of coverage the student will have on campus, including whether or not the prescription drug plan will be honored at pharmacies in the area.
Many colleges and universities have free student health centers. I didn’t take advantage of this until my fourth year of university, which was dumb. Even if you’re the healthiest college student in the world, you should look into what your school offers you. The worst time to search out this information is when you’re sick!
Are you a poor college student? Read How to Get Money for School – From Passive Income to Sharper Vision.
Buy a first aid kit that includes the most common, over-the-counter medications
I never owned a first aid kit until my husband and I moved in together – and now I can’t live without it! Honestly, it contains everything from aspirin to Neosporin, and I think I’ve dipped into every package in the kit.
And, remember that you’ll have to know how to handle everything from the sniffles to the flu. “Students need to know how to self-treat a cold because many have never really managed that on their own before,” Dr. Horton said. “They need to know whether or not to go see a doctor, something that their parents have usually handled for them.”
Heed your mom’s health tips
Wash your hands after using the bathroom, cover your cough with your elbow (not your hand), dispose of used tissues, and eat off clean plates with clean cutlery.
“All of those common-sense pieces of advice can make a big difference, especially for students who find themselves living with a whole lot of other people in residence halls for the first time,” Dr. Horton said.
Watch your diet and laugh lots
Unhealthy eating habits are easy to pick up when no one is there to make sure you eat your veggies.
“An easy way to stay healthy at college is eat breakfast. Give your brain fuel for those morning classes,” she said. “Regular exercise is also important for good health and weight management. Students should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise four to five days a week.”
Want to know what foods will make you smarter? Read 10 Best Foods for College Students – From Bean Dip to Berries.
Create and stick to a healthy sleep schedule – the ZZZs will get you A’s!
“For some reason, students get to college and their clock seems to shift, and they stay up too late, and they still have 8 o’clock classes,” said Horton. “They stay up talking to friends in the hall, and they don’t start their work until 11 or 12, and they’re up half the night doing their homework. Sleep deprivation among students is a very unhealthy habit.”
It’s easy to stay healthy at college if you’re getting enough sleep, because your body is strong enough to fight off bugs and viruses. If you’re tired and draggy, your immune system won’t help you fight the teeniest bugs – not to mention the beasts! So, get your ZZZs so you can get those A’s.
If you tend to lose your motivation to study and even graduate from school, read How to Study When You Can’t Focus.
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