I take one sip of my iced coffee, and it happens: an instant headache. My third serving of coffee that day is a substitute for my lunch.
More than anything else, I’d prefer sleep. But the best I can do is a half-hour catnap before I start the 12-page paper due tomorrow.
After three years at Biola University (biola.edu), I have learned that the “college lifestyle” is not all it is cracked up to be.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthier college lifestyle.
1. Make a list
Write down the things you need to accomplish, and stick to that list. It would be so easy to pretend there were no midterm tomorrow, or that a 10-page paper would only take an hour to write. But you’d pay for it in the end.
Get your work done before you play. You will still have time to have fun, and you’ll feel less guilty about it!
2. Get a good night’s sleep
I know, I know: Pulling an all-nighter makes you feel invincible.
But the truth is, you are sacrificing something really important—your juice for the next day. (Not to mention the side effects of sleep deprivation: lack of attention, depression, weight gain.) Don’t pull an all-nighter unless you must!
3. Eat breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you energy and alertness. And if you skip breakfast, you are more likely to overeat at lunch. (Hello, freshman 15!)
Keep a box of instant oatmeal in your dorm room, or cereal and milk. This way you don’t have to drag yourself out of bed just to make it to the cafeteria in time.
Don’t just exercise because it’s that thing you do to keep muscle and avoid weight gain. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which decreases the chances you’ll struggle with depression (a common problem for college students).
“I would get up at 6 to go to the gym before my 8 o’clock classes,” says Rebekah Davis, a recent graduate of Multnomah University (multnomah.edu). “It was worth it to feel better all day long.”
Mix up your exercise routine if that treadmill is boring you to tears. Buy an exercise video (“Bollywood Burn” is my personal favorite), find a local park to jog in, or learn how to use the rowing machine and take a friend so you can race.
5. Keep track of your fruit and vegetable intake
Cafeteria food is one of the number-one complaints of college students. The food is greasy, the meat is sketchy. But in any cafeteria, it is your choices that make the difference.
“College students tend to choose what is most convenient, which end up being the unhealthier choices in the cafeteria,” says Missy Walker, a student at Biola University.
6. Take some time out every day
It’s easy to get caught up in the endless adrenaline rush of college. Taking a few minutes to spend alone, just to think and regroup, can help you assess how you are doing.
Listen to what your body is saying to you, and be smart about responding to it.
Sara Joy Davis is a senior at Biola University. She studies cinema and media arts and journalism, and writes for Biola’s on-campus publication, The Chimes.