By Emily Martin
Being sick is never any fun, but being sick in college is even worse. In general, college students have extremely hectic schedules. On top of being a full-time student, I am also involved in Waco Young Life (which includes two weekly Bible studies, intramural sports once a week and a College Life club on Sundays), I work at Baylor’s Visitors Center, I write for the Baylor Admissions Blog, I manage a small business called Calligraphy By Emily, which is currently helping me raise money for a mission trip I am going on in January, and I volunteer in the Pre-School Ministry at Highland Baptist Church. Life is pretty crazy for me, and I know that many other students have even crazier lives. When life is this busy, you are bound to wear yourself out, which eventually causes you to get sick. That’s exactly what happened to me last week. I overworked myself and ended up with migraines, a sore throat and an awful cold.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t let myself get to this point ever again, so I made a list of things I am going to do to prevent stress and sickness. Here are my five tips on how to stay healthy in college:
#1 – Find time to work out!
I am usually a pretty active person. I love running, yoga, hiking and pretty much anything that gets me moving and active. However, with a schedule that is this busy, my workouts are typically the first thing I cut. In an attempt to better my health, I have tried to schedule specific days and times of the week to work out in some way. Whether this means going to a Bearobics class at the SLC (Student Life Center) or running the Bear Trail, I am going to make sure that I work out at least five days a week. You can do the same! Find something you love to do that keeps you active! It will help you to stay healthy, AND it will relieve stress!
#2 – Maintain a balanced diet!
This is a great way to ensure that you are staying healthy in college. It is so easy to pick up some Chick-fil-A on campus (something I am frequently guilty of doing…) or to grab five of Ms. Mei’s cookies at Memorial Dining Hall (Also guilty…). If you start thinking more about eating healthier foods, then you will be less likely to become sick. You can do this by incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet. The next time you make a trip to the grocery store, try to substitute some of your junk food purchases with apples or carrots. Something that I have tried this year is buying miniature bags of carrots. These are so convenient because you can grab one and walk right out the door. It’s not messy, and it’s healthy! You can also try to drink more water and less caffeinated drinks, such as sodas and coffee. I drink two to three cups of coffee a day, so I could definitely replace one of those with a glass of water. Decreasing your caffeine intake will also help you to sleep better at night!
#3 – Sleep sleep sleep!
I am pretty good about doing this one, but I figured I would keep it on my list so that I remember to keep doing it. Everyone makes fun of me, but I usually go to bed around 9:30 or 10 p.m. every night. Sometimes I have a lot of studying to do so I stay up later, but normally I try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Everyone’s body needs different amounts of sleep, so try to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs for you to stay healthy. Sleeping enough at night also helps you to remember all of the information you learned that day, so when you have a big test make sure to get enough sleep the night before!
#4 – Find time to de-stress!
Yoga is something I have found helps me tremendously when I am stressed about school or life, so I am trying to go at least two times a week. I can be stressing about a million things, but if I go to a yoga class, I am completely calmed and ready to take on the world afterward. I know that this might not be the answer to everyone’s problems, so find your own “happy place” to go to when you feel the weight of being a college student bearing down on your shoulders. You could also try taking a short nap, going for a run or going to a Zumba class at the SLC – anything that will get your mind off of your problems and will allow you to refresh and calm down. Staying healthy usually starts with living a stress-free life!
#5 – Give it all to God!
I start off every single day by spending 45 minutes to an hour with God. During this time I read my Bible and then reflect on what I read. Then, I talk with God about all that I have to do that day and ask Him to guide me through all of it and help me to stay focused on Him. It comforts me to know that in reality, all of our “big problems” are usually really small in the long run. Anything is possible through the Lord, and we just have to be willing to give all of our problems to Him. By doing this, you will be less stressed, healthier and happier!
I know that these tips won’t always prevent you from getting sick, but hopefully by making a few adjustments in your daily routines and habits, you will be able to live a healthier life!