There is no better time than now to start working on a healthier lifestyle. As a student, sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to nourish your mind, body and soul. Never fear; these seven tips are here to make it easier than ever.
1. Eat your damn breakfast
I used to hate eating breakfast; I still kind of do. I have my reasons: I like coffee instead, I’m always running late, I can barely keep my eyes open in the morning let alone cook, and I’m not all that hungry in the morning anyway. Still, I try to eat some sort of breakfast everyday. I’m not talking about a 5 course meal; I’m talking about a banana, some peanut or almond butter with an apple or whole grain bagel. Your brain doesn’t wake up until you put food in your body; otherwise you’re just going through the motions. Wake up properly and activate your body correctly. You’ll be more energetic, your workouts will feel better, you’ll retain more information during lectures, and overall your attitude will improve.
Tip: Pinterest some ‘healthy breakfast cookie’ ideas (they are idiot-proof) and make a batch on the Sunday before. They don’t need to be fancy, I once made some from 3 ingredients: oats, banana, peanut butter.
2. Join your campus gym
I spent my entire undergrad steering clear from the dreaded campus gym. It was like the dark forest that I always heard about but never really ventured into. I had never been to the gym; I didn’t know what to expect, how to use the machines, what to wear and I definitely didn’t want to go alone. I was worried about the beautifully thin and toned model-like women snickering at me in my oger soccer shorts. One day I finally signed up (student rates are dirt cheap), sucked it up, and went. It was incredible, they have everything and the people who go there are just regular people! A pool, spinning classes, rock climbing, cardio, circuit training, yoga, Zumba classes, weights, all included! You’ll want to explore everything there is once you’ve gotten a taste. You’ll love pushing your body to see how far it can go.
Tip: Most gyms have a sauna you can go in after your workout to sweat it all out before showering. Plus it gives you a reason to go shopping for some cute workout clothes!
3. Pre-make your smoothies
I own a slow juicer and a blender, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to chop everything up to put in my smoothies. Have some extra freezer space? Chop up your banana, pit your peaches, de-stem your berries, put them in ziplock baggies and toss ’em in the freezer. That way all you need is your milk or juice, greek yogurt and added supplements (maca, spirulina, chia, hemp are all great options that can be bought for cheap at your local bulk food store). It makes your mornings completely hassle-free and is so much cheaper than buying pre-cut fruit and berries (freezing your own produce of nearly any kind is a great idea).
Tip: Like smoothies but don’t want to give up your coffee? Have some left over cold pressed juice? Freeze them in your ice cube trays for flavor and added nutrition with your morning brew! You can even plan out filling lunch smoothies so you don’t have to sacrifice your caffeine fix.
4. Cook more
In my first and second year I don’t think I used a stove or oven once. Strictly microwave dinners. Gross. I would never touch the stuff now that I’ve learned to cook. You don’t have to do it everyday, but try one new recipe a week. Try Mexican, Thai, Italian, or maybe try some vegan cuisine (even if you’re not vegan)! If you know how to cook, try substituting some of your unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones. Lentil burgers over breaded chicken, whole wheat pasta over white, coconut flour over all-purpose, nutritional yeast over parmesan cheese, swiss chard over flour tortillas, etc. Trust me, there are SUCH easy substitutions and so many healthy options out there!
Tip: If you absolutely hate cooking then try salads; all you gotta do is chop it up. Chickpea salads, Quinoa salads, Black Bean & Corn, Kale Caesar Salad, there is something for everyone.
5. Regulate your sleeping schedule
Even If I could, I wouldn’t stay up all night. And on the weekends, I don’t sleep in like I used to. I like to keep my sleeping schedule consistent and regulated because if I don’t, a whole bunch of symptoms begin to pop up again. Fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia, increased anxiety, grogginess, etc. Don’t ever wake up later than 9:00 AM. Get up and do something productive. Go for a run, take a walk to get your morning coffee or take a walk WITH your morning coffee, clean your apartment, download some new music for your phone, make yourself a beautiful breakfast, try sketching or painting, organize your drawers, clean out your fridge, wash your makeup brushes and clean your sheets. There is always something to do and It feels good to be up and going. Your mental health will thank you for it.
Tip: If you don’t have any reason to get out of bed or are struggling with your mental health, try joining a movement, initiative, or club on campus. It gives you a reason to come to school knowing you’ll see a group of friendly faces. It helped me so much in my first year.
6. Take advantage of the services your university offers
All students (even part-time) have some sort of health plan under their student union. Luckily for me, I am now a graduate student and get a way better plan (free dental, hello). Take advantage of your health while you can. Get your annual free teeth cleaning, talk to a psychiatrist, get evaluated by a nutritionist, and get your eyes checked, seriously check them. Take control of your own health and see what your plan has to offer you; you’re paying for it anyway, you might as well benefit from it. As a graduate student, i am able to see massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and all 70% – 100% covered!
Tip: These services do not come cheap in the real world and unless your employer or your spouse’s employer one day has an awesome plan, you might not get a lot of these opportunities again (aka massage therapy) – so enjoy it while you can.
7. WagJag, Groupon, and Live Social are your friends
These is a discount wonderland for those looking for a bargain. On a student budget, you could easily try 1 week of free yoga, discounted Zumba classes, or even try a boot camp on a budget. The health and wellness section always has good stuff in your area. This is a great way to help your body, mind, soul, and wallet. The best part? It’s not just for fitness and health! They have everything from wine tours, boat cruises, free meals at local restaurants, mini-putting, and up to 80% off spa days. It’s worth checking out for that alone!
This is a great start if you want to work towards a better and healthier you. From smaller, healthier decisions in your own kitchen or milking the shit out of your student health plan, you deserve to feel awesome so start shopping around for what would make you happy. You don’t need to throw yourself into all of them at once if you aren’t ready; take it slow. You’ll be glowing in no time.
Featured image via mensagens.