Focusing on your health might not be your first priority when you’re balancing college with work and family life. It tends to fall behind other responsibilities such as studying for exams, writing papers and preparing for presentations. However, it’s crucial to keep your health top of mind in order to stay mentally and physically sharp. Plus, developing healthy patterns now can help you stay healthy for the long term. Here are a few healthy habits to start now:
Find time to exercise
This may be an obvious health tip, but the importance of exercising can never be emphasized enough. When you’re busy with college, family and work-related tasks, you may not always have time to get to the gym. But even on your busiest days, there are always ways you can find to fit in some physical activity, whether that’s opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk around the block or taking five-minute study breaks to do yoga or strength exercises. Exercising can not only help control weight, but it can also improve your mood, give you a boost of energy and promote better sleep.
Make sleep a priority
When you have two papers to finish, a test to study for and homework to complete in addition to everything else, holding off on getting to bed may seem like your only option. While you may be able to get away with this every once in a while, it shouldn’t be something you get used to. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, one of the best ways to maximize academic performance on exams (aside from studying) is to get a good night of sleep. Getting your full eight hours helps you feel alert and work at peak performance.
Avoid skipping meals
With a frenetic schedule, you may not always have time to sit down and eat full meals, but this doesn’t mean you should go without eating. When you skip a meal, you’re not only missing out on essential vitamins and minerals, you may feel tired and unfocused. Plus, you’re more likely to make up for a missed meal with junk food later on. Instead, make an effort to eat every meal, even if it’s grabbing a granola bar for breakfast or packing yourself a healthy lunch the night before a busy day.
Remember to relax
It’s very common for college students, especially those with obligations outside of school, to face a lot of stress. While a small amount of stress can be good, too much can contribute to health problems and cause irritability, fatigue, sleep problems, restlessness and more. This is why it’s crucial to learn to manage your stress levels to stay healthy. Schedule short breaks into your day to unwind or adopt healthy stress management strategies like socializing with friends, listening to music, exercising or meditating.