Monday, October 22, 2018

8 Tips for Staying Healthy While in College/Graduate School

Tips to Stay Healthy As a student in College and Graduate School
My Personal 8 Tips to Staying Healthy While in College & Graduate School
It's already Fall :)  Halloween is coming up. Midterms are around the corner and you just got assigned another project. The last thing on your mind right now is exercising and eating healthy. However, when it comes down to it, staying healthy is just as important as writing your 20 pages essay for English Class.

Graduate school, and especially college is undoubtedly an exciting time. For many of us, this is the first time we are away from our homes. This is the first time we are given freedom. We are surrounded by people who are our age and working towards our future goal. I know for me personally, I was extremely excited to live somewhere else besides my home. Unfortunately, as many of you already know and are probably experience, college and graduate school is also an incredibly stressful time of our lives. Between the readings, essays, exams, and balancing a social life (because in college, yes there is always something to do), you can find yourself living an unhealthy lifestyle. 

So how does a student stay healthy while juggling the requirements of school and a social life?
It has taken me quite a bit of trial and error, but here are things that worked for me when it comes to staying healthy.

1.  Make Small Changes:
If you are used to one type of lifestyle, it can be tough to change your lifestyle all of a sudden. Because of this, I recommend making small goals each week that you know you can accomplish. For example, if you are someone who never goes to the gym, make it a goal to go to the gym 1x or 2x a week. This is a small, reachable goal. Once you reach your goal, you can increase the goal until you reach the level you want. I find this to be the best way to make changes because it guarantees a higher chance of success. If I were to start of with the goal of going to the gym 6x a week, I would most likely fail. This would lead to me being upset and giving up on my goal of being healthy. When small goals are made and you reach them, you will feel motivated to keep going.

2. Prioritize Your Goals:
This tip relates a bit to the last one in the sense that you must pick a few things to improve at a time. When you start a journey to being healthy, there is a temptation to go overboard and try to do everything at once. You'll want to start running, lifting weights, meal prepping, drinking kombucha.. This list goes on. There is a lot you can do, but realistically, you can only do a couple of things at once. Because of this, you need to prioritize which changes are the most important and doable for you at first. For example, if you want to increase you activity, you can make it a goal to take the stairs everywhere rather than the elevator. You could also make it a goal to walk around for 5 minutes for every hour you spend sitting and studying. (I personally love this tip as it breaks up my studying time and it helps me actually focus better on my studies!)  

3. Make Time For It:
I wish there was a way to avoid this, but there is no way to deny that exercise and eating healthy are likely to take up time. Before you panic though, I am not saying it will take up a lot of your time, but you must plan for it. I understand that being a student already comes with a heavy work load, but if you want to get healthy, you have to plan for it. From meal prepping to working out at the gym, these things require time upfront. However, you will reap rewards from these activities after. Meal prepping is done once or twice a week. After that, you will have food for the rest of the week and save yourself some money! Exercise will lead to you being more focused and energetic throughout the day which will help you with your studies. Long story short, do make some time for it, but you don't need to go crazy. 

4. Try HITT:
Besides running, HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are one of my favorite ones to do. HITT is a short, but highly effective workout. HITT workouts range from very short (4 minutes) to longer ones and you can pick the one that fits your own schedule. The thing that makes HITT so effective is that fact that you must push your body to the near max while preforming the exercises. HITT is made to get your body sweating and your heart beating right away. I personally love to do HITT workouts throughout the day or in the morning as a way to kick start my body.

5. Try Eating More "Plant Based" Foods: 
We all know the importance of having a proper diet. A healthy diet allows our body to function properly and gives us the energy to go about our day. I am a big advocate for eating plant based. According to Wikipedia 
"A plant based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits, but with few or no animal products." 
 know This could have different meaning for everyone, but for me, that means incorporating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and plant proteins into my meals. Whenever I reach for a snack, I always for for a piece of fruit with a protein such as butters or buts. The fruit provides me with nutrients while the protein keeps me full. For my meals, I make sure to load up on veggies, making sure that they take up about half of my meal. A good way for me to achieve this is to blend my fruits and veggies. I can throw all my veggies and fruits into a blender and drink my plants! This is perfect for a student who is always on the go (like me!). On the side, I choose to eat some carbs such as pasta and a serving of plant protein such as beans or tofu.

6. Limit Your Caffeine Intake: 
Along with this, I am going to add: "Get Enough Sleep!" The lack of sleep is the one that I struggle the most on. When my schedule gets busy, sleep is almost always the first to go. When it comes to coffee though, the debate on whether it is good or bad for you is half and half. Coffee is known to increase your metabolism, improve your energy, and burn fat. However, caffeine also leads to a dependence on it which is not good. What is known though is that too much coffee is certainly not good your your health. Because of this, I recommend limiting yourself to 2 cups of it a day. If you find yourself needing more than 2 cups, you may need to look into your sleep habits and making sure are getting enough hours of ZZZZZZ each night.

Tips to Stay Healthy While in School
Coffee can be helpful for a tired college student, but too much coffee is not healthy. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and not relying on coffee to get through your day.  

7. Forgive Yourself:
This tip has a couple meanings, but the main message to take away is that no one is perfect. We are humans and life sometimes gets in the way. If you had planned to wake up early to hit the gym before class on Monday before classes started, but hit the snooze button a couple times too much, don't fret too much about it. There are times where plans don't go the way we want and as long as it doesn't become a frequent thing, it won't matter in the long run. The same can be said with your diet. You've been eating clean for weeks and all of a sudden, you go out with your friends and you have fries and a milkshake. It's not the end of the world! You had fun (which is 100% allowed) and got to spend time with your friends. The thing that matters now is that you get back on track after the meal.

8. Do It Your Way:
There is no one or right way to get fit. We are all different with different needs and different responsibilities. When it comes to exercise, find what you enjoy and stick with it. Some people may prefer high impact workouts like running (me!) while others like low impact yoga. Some people may like to work out alone while other perform their best in group classes. A example of this that I struggled with before was the idea that "You need to workout in the morning." I tried this tip and while it made sense for some things such as running (running outside at 6am vs. 9pm at night in the dark), it did not make the most sense for workouts such as the gym. I find myself more productive, less drowsy, and stronger when I worked out during the evening or at night vs. the crack of dawn.  My body just could not wake up. Now I will still wake up to run in the morning for safety reasons, but whenever it's a gym day, I save that for later in the day and I allow myself to get some extra (much needed) sleep!

Tips to Stay Healthy In college and Graduate School
While studying is important as a student, taking care of your body and making sure you are healthy is equally as important. 


  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. It nice seeing you post again.

    1. Hey Amy! I am so glad you remember me! It's been too long, but fingers crossed this time that I will be back for good :) I need to catch up with you!


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