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For many students, leaving for college represents the first time away from home for any extended amount of time. This sense of independence and responsibility can be exciting, but it can also lead to the formation of unhealthy living habits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college can help you succeed in your studies as well as prepare you for the future.

Bad Habits for College Life

College is replete with new experiences and exciting opportunities, but college also brings with it a host of new stresses. Intensive class work, making new friends and school expenses are examples of stressful college realities (1).

Some students develop bad habits in reaction to stress. Eating may become irregular and often involves foods that lack nutritional value. Sleeping patterns are disrupted, and with the presence of parties, binge drinking is often part of the college life.

Repeating any of these activities will begin to form bad habits, and those bad habits tend to feed into each other, creating a general loss of wellness. With the inherent difficulty of college, adding an unhealthy lifestyle can make your college experience negative.

Good Habits for College Life

Forming healthy living habits can counteract these negative activities and help you to be a more productive and happier student. What do good habits look like?

Sleep is important during college, and making sure you are sleeping enough will help you be a productive student (2). When you are sleep deprived, your body doesn’t have a chance to recover, leaving you open to illness. Not sleeping enough also affects your mental health, potentially leading to depression and anxiety. All of these factors contribute to your ability to perform academically. Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night can make a big difference in both your physical and mental well-being.

Eating habits are another area where you can maintain healthy choices. Be selective in the food you eat. Consuming pizza, fast food or other junk food isn’t bad on occasion, but you should also be eating healthier options, such as fruits and vegetables. If you like to snack between meals, go for healthier snacks like carrot sticks, apples, celery or even nuts. Drinking more water and reducing your alcohol intake are also important to a healthy lifestyle.

Exercise is also an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t have to be intensive. Brisk walking or running for thirty minutes a day is a good start. If you want to go to the gym, go with a friend and help each other stay active (2). Colleges have many physical education classes that can help you increase your activity level, or you could participate in any number of physical activities going on across campus.

The Importance of Healthy Living

Forming good habits in college can pay off for the rest of your life. Getting into a good sleep pattern, eating healthy foods and exercising can help you maintain both your physical and mental health. These positive lifestyle choices can also help you do better in school. With more energy and cognitive ability, your classes can be easier to handle.

You aren’t living at home anymore, and your lifestyle depends on the choices you make. With a little work and determination, you can live a happy, healthy life.

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References:

  1. http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-stressed-out-college-student/
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2013/11/04/making-exercise-a-daily-habit-10-tips/
On Your Own: Healthy Living Away from Home
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