The New Year is a perfect time to reflect on the past and make goals for the future. While you might be making New Year’s resolutions to go to the gym at least twice a week and to eat healthier, your student is also making health-focused resolutions of his/her own.
To help your student stay healthier, happier, and more productive this semester, share some of these simple tips for maintaining good health while living on campus. A healthier lifestyle will give your student energy to take on the challenges of the day and avoid illnesses like the flu.
Healthy living is an important part of every individual’s overall wellness. Please share these tips with your student:
- Wash hands. Whether students prefer to count to 10 or sing the happy birthday song while washing their hands, be sure to encourage them to use warm water and plenty of soap. The simple act of rubbing their hands together with hot water and soap on a regular basis will help decrease the risk of spreading germs and disease.
- Find time for exercise. Encourage your student to walk to class or the dining hall. Suggest he or she invite friends to try a new workout video at their residence hall or take a yoga or Zumba class at Carmichael Gym. Students can lift weights while watching “American Idol” or do 30 crunches while watching “The Real Housewives”! It doesn’t matter how they choose to exercise, but making time in their schedule for at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, can be beneficial. Regular workouts help relieve stress and keep the body healthy and fit.
- Skip fad diets. Instead, focus on eating healthy meals three times a day. Healthy meal choices include fruit, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Students that eat healthier meals feel more productive throughout the day and are less susceptible to illness. Breakfast is a must!
If your student eats in the dining halls on campus, he or she can browse the menus for the day, which provide nutritional information and allow him/her to plan meal choices in advance. Students can also schedule an appointment with campus dietician, Lisa Eberhart, to create a healthy eating plan that works with their schedule.
If students prefer to cook their own meals instead of dining out, they can purchase fresh, local produce at the campus farmers market on the Brickyard during the school year on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Student Health Center also offers several programs to help students make healthier diet choices. For assistance planning a healthier lifestyle, try the HealthySTATE, Fit for U, or Choose T.W.O programs.
- Take a break. A five-minute break after 90 minutes of studying, homework, writing, or research helps the brain recharge. Encourage students to spend a few minutes walking, stretching, chatting with a friend, or time outside enjoying the tranquility of the Artists’ Backyard Oasis, Syme Rain Garden, or Lee Rain Garden. Connecting with Mother Nature is a proven way to lower stress and recharge. Regular breaks during long hours of homework or studying will help refresh students, boost creativity, and become more productive while decreasing their stress level.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is essential to staying healthy. Bodies feel less strain and stress if kept well-hydrated. Encourage your student to keep a water bottle close by throughout the day to encourage healthy hydration and ward off illness.
- Participate in social activities. Students can improve their mental health by staying connected with friends. Students can grab coffee or a meal together, participate in group activities at their residence hall or apartment, or volunteer at a local charity event. Encourage students to allow time during the week to relax and “chill” with friends. Social time will recharge their spirit and improve their mental health.
- Sleep. To stay healthy and productive, bodies need time to renew and heal. It might be difficult in college, but encourage students to plan time in their schedule for a restful eight hours, or at least more than three hours, of sleep at night. To help curb insomnia, turn off technology an hour before bedtime, limit caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening, and exercise during the day. If students aren’t getting enough sleep at night, they can try taking short naps, 15-45 minutes, to recharge and refresh during the day.
- Eat more vegetables instead of popping vitamin supplements. Taking vitamin supplements, like vitamin C or a multi-vitamin, are easy solutions if students are not making healthy meal choices. However, supplements are not healthy alternatives to a well-balanced diet. Leafy vegetables and a variety of fruit provide plenty of essential vitamins and minerals and are much tastier than vitamin supplements.
- Unplug and relax. Students should take a few minutes in the evening or during the weekend to turn off technology. Staying constantly plugged into the digital world can cause unnecessary stress and insomnia. In the beginning, it might be difficult for students to turn off iPhones, tablets, laptops, etc. and just sit and talk in one of the residence hall lounges or enjoy the world around them once in a while - but it’s definitely worth the increased health benefits.
- Limit vices. Unhealthy vices come in all shapes and sizes and can hinder healthy choices. This semester, ask your student to eat less pizza, quit smoking, or reduce time spent on their smart phones. (Hey, it’s worth a try!)
The New Year is a chance to start over, so encourage your student to adopt a few healthy habits to increase their overall wellness.