Healthy Body; Healthy Brain
Published on August 16, 2016 by Tom Westover
The dreaded Freshman 15 is a legendary concept. It doesn’t matter if you are a second career or traditional student, the stress and busy schedule that accompany seeking a college education can easily result in you placing your health on the back burner. However, if you can reframe your college experience, you will see that having a busy schedule can provide you with some of the most structured opportunities to focus on your health that you will have in your life. There are several ways you can ensure that your body stays healthy so that your mind can operate at its fullest capacity.
- Know that your best is fluid.
You should always try and do your best. This is a simple enough premise. You may know that you need to avoid the fast food line or that you need to get in your gym time, but these goals are the first thing to go when you get in bind a with your schedule. Just don’t throw in the towel for good. Don’t beat yourself up over one bad day and give in to the temptation to succumb to bad habits. Instead, realize that every day doing your best means something different. A day when you have three huge assignments due and have a client meeting at work, be easier on yourself than on a day when you have one class and a half day at work.
- Set your baseline.
Right now, you need to make a compact with yourself about the bare minimum of healthy behaviors that you will accept from yourself before you need a serious intervention. Hold yourself accountable, and no matter how stressful your week is, be willing to stick to these minimums. If you are already reasonably healthy, your minimums may be to hit the gym four times during the week and only eat out once. If you have some weight to lose, setting a minimum of walking ten minutes a day and having dessert with only one meal a day may be your minimum. Doing something for your health is better than doing nothing, and when you put effort into your physical well being, you are more likely to want to do more to improve.
- Don’t stop getting medical care.
If at all possible, try and maintain health insurance. Regardless of your health insurance status, there are free and sliding scale health and dental clinics in virtually every state. Just because you are busy with school doesn’t give you an excuse to forgo taking care of yourself. If anything, you need to make sure you are staying healthy so that the investment you are making in your future will pay off in the long run. You also need to make sure that you continue taking any medications that you have been prescribed. Check with manufacturers to see if they have prescription savings programs. Check with your doctor to see if he has any samples available.
- Get a buddy.
Whether you need a workout buddy, a food buddy, or a mental health buddy, find another person that you see on a regular basis that you will check in and that will check in with you to make sure you are staying on track with your health goals. Managing your health can be a bit overwhelming when you have so many other things on your plate. Knowing you have a friend can be a great comfort.
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