Let me start off my wishing you all a Happy New Year (although I’m sure it’s too far into January to still be saying that, sorry!). And with a new year also comes new year resolutions, "new year, new me" anyone? I’m sure 99% of the population have devoted themselves to being healthier in the new year so I thought I’d offer some tips and advice on how you can be healthy, even if you’re at university.
This is a bit of an obvious one, I know, but exercise doesn’t just have to be about going to the gym; it can be (surprisingly) fun if you find what works for you. Most universities offer an array of sports societies so why not give one a go this year and you could end up finding a new love. Youtube also has a wide variety of home-based exercises which is great if you’d rather not have people see you turn into a hot, sweaty mess. Exercise also has health benefits beyond the physical sense. It can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood! There should be no excuses now. Aim to exercise around twice a week and you’ll really reap all of the benefits that exercise can offer you.
With a lot of people climbing aboard the healthy eating bandwagon, you’ll be sure to find a multitude of healthy recipes online. Check out Pinterest or BBC Good Food if you need some inspiration. Eating better doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t mean giving up the food you love either. Don’t let social media suck you up in the good vs bad food dynamic either; everything is good in moderation. Aim for three meals a day with a snack in between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner to stop yourself getting too hungry. Cut down on eating out and takeaways and save them as a treat, rather than letting them become a habit. Some of you may find it helpful to meal plan for the week ahead and do a weekly shop to help you keep on track.
If you’re in your first year, I’m sure the novelty of being able to go to bed whenever you want to has worn off by now. Getting into a regular sleep pattern can really boost your mood and help you be really productive. Try to stick to a regular bed time and wake up at the same time every day. It’s recommended that you get between 7 and 9 hours sleep so aim for something around that.
Drink more water
The recommended amount of water to drink each day is just under 2 litres, which may seem like a lot if it’s not something you do regularly. Drinking more water has many health benefits attached to it such as clearer skin, better concentration and less headaches. If you often forget to drink water then you can download a mobile app to remind you. You can also buy water bottles that have time markings on them to help you stay on track. If plain water doesn’t quite float your boat, try adding some fruit to it to add a bit of flavour.
Hopefully these tips help you to achieve some of your health and fitness goals for 2018! Eating well and staying active does wonders for your mental wellbeing, which may well be challenged at some point during your university degree. Making small changes to your lifestyle, such as drinking more water, can have a bigger impact on how you feel than you think.
Eileanor is in her third year studying English Language at the University of Chester.
Note: 'Student Blog' pieces highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.