It is easy to fall into unhealthy habits when you do not have much time to devote to taking care of yourself.
During the school year I often find myself with 20 minutes for lunch.
Instead of bringing it from home like I should, I end up at the food court with a mini pizza and a diet coke. Just about the unhealthiest meal I can think of.
When I started stocking more fruits and vegetables in my fridge and carrying a reusable water bottle wherever I went, I definitely noticed a change in my health. I wasn’t lagging by mid-morning anymore—I was more alert and enthusiastic during class, something that went a long way to getting good marks at the end of the year. Here are a few easy ways to make sure you too are at your best health-wise to tackle every challenge in your day.
Carry a water bottle
It’s so simple. Carrying a water bottle with you as you go about your day will not only keep you hydrated, but you’ll probably also find that you’re not eating as many meaningless snacks. If you always walk out the door without a water bottle in hand, keep a couple of reusable bottles filled and in your fridge or on your desk. It’s much easier to remember to bring it along when all you have to do is grab a bottle and go.
Keep healthy snacks on hand
We have all been there. There’s nothing to eat in your flat so you make a quick stop at Tesco to pick up crisps and sugary drinks. Thirty minutes later, you’re hungry again. Avoid impulse buys with empty calories by keeping some healthy essentials in your room. A few great buys are apples and peanut butter, air popped popcorn, energy bars and carrots. Keep them on hand to eat while you are studying or to throw in your bag before class.
Sneak in exercise
You’re a nursing student and you are probably very busy. If you don’t have time to go to the gym regularly, find other ways to make sure you are exercising more. Walk where you can when you can instead of taking public transport. Youtube work out videos to do at home, and if you find yourself lacking in motivation to go to the gym when you can, take a group class. Group classes have a set time, which will make you feel more obligated to go.
Get enough sleep
University students are told all the time to make sure they get enough sleep every night, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Getting a full night’s sleep sets the tone for your entire day, and you should be trying to get a solid eight hours every night. If that is not going to happen though, try to carve out some time for a nap the following afternoon. Even a 20-minute power nap has been proven to increase productivity.
Don’t neglect your mental health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, but isn’t always taken care of during university. Remember that you are not super human. It is ok to take some time for yourself at the end of the day to unwind and reflect. Do a quick yoga routine, write down the highlights of your day or just unwind with a good book on the couch. Taking time to de-stress after a hectic day instead of working until you fall into bed will go a long way to keeping stress at bay. If you feel like you can’t cope with daily stress or just need someone to speak with, take advantage of your university’s counseling resources.
What’s your top tip for staying healthy at university?