College is a great time in life. It’s full of new life and learning experiences. But, it can definitely get hectic and of course, stressful. While you’re in school, keep these tips in mind because you matter before anything else.
1. Set Aside Alone Time
You might be thinking that alone time defeats the purpose of college. Especially if you are living on campus, your friends may surround you around the clock. That’s awesome… Except, when it isn’t.
You want your friends to be your release from school. You can vent to them about assignments, a problem with a significant other, or about the party last weekend. What you don’t want to happen is to start getting annoyed with your friends. You know what I mean. You spend so much time with someone that every little thing they do starts to annoy you.
It can be hard to bounce back once your friendship has gone down that road. Can you see the problems arising already? Trust me on this, and set up times to be alone with your thoughts. This could be your in-between class time or gym time a few days a week instead of joining the group.
Have you ever tried having breakfast alone? It’s actually kind of awesome!
2. Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can live off of pulling all-nighters more nights than not! Sleep is so critical.
Picture this: you are stressed over a major project due later in the week, so you get little to no sleep working on it from sunset to sunrise. The next day you are basically a walking zombie. You’re useless! Whatever work you do get done will not be your best effort and your grade will suffer. You know when you get that less-than-stellar grade that the stress and anxiety will creep in… See the vicious cycle here?
Tip: Set a bedtime for weeknights. Don’t stay up later than a half hour past it, no matter what. If you need to wake up early, then do that instead.
2. Spend Time Outside
Being holed up in a dorm room or the library forever can make you feel like you’re going crazy. It can be hard to make yourself take a break when you’re on a roll, but your work (and mental stability) will thank you for it.
Go outside and take a walk. You can check out areas of campus you don’t usually walk through.
Explore the town your college is in. Whether it’s a busy city or sleepy suburb, every community has something to offer. You might just discover your new favorite place to hang out!
3. Set Yourself Reminders
I cannot stress this seemingly small piece of advice enough! We have all been there when we realize an assignment was due and we didn’t know it. Or, you walk in on your class starting a quiz you had no idea was coming. It’s the worst feeling, ever.
Use whatever strategy works, but my advice is that you cannot set too many reminders for yourself. I have written deadlines in my planner only to not even crack it open weeks later (when it needed to be seen) because my workload was so light at the time. That sent me into panic-mode. Heavy sweating and all.
Save yourself the stress and write deadlines and reminders in your planner, in your phone, and place sticky notes on your desk. Prevent time anxiety and never feel the time crunch.
4. Skip the Junk Food
Just because you see people bingeing on beer and pizza for four years on television does not mean that it’s a smart idea.
It’s so easy to reach for the convenience foods when you’re a busy college student, but in the long run your health will suffer. Without fueling your body with real nutrients, how can you expect your brain to keep up in your classes? (Never mind get your body to run to class on time!)
If you are lucky to have the privilege of a kitchen in your living arrangement, take advantage of that! Share the grocery shopping expenses with your roommates to lighten the load on all of your wallets. It can be fun picking out what fresh produce and meats to buy each week. Plus, you can practice cooking together using the food that you buy.
If you are solely eating in dining halls, it’s a little trickier to eat healthy, but not impossible. Limit options like grilled cheese and pizza to a once-a-week treat. Opt for chicken, beef, and fish entrees when they’re available. Make sure you always pick a fruit and/or veggie to go with it. And be sure to have plenty of leafy green salads in the rotation!
Bottom line: I’m not saying you can’t dabble in any of those things. (Let’s be honest, there will be pizza, beer, and all-nighters). However, you need to learn what routines and rules to set so that you pass your classes while still having a blast. Once you figure out your own form of balance, you’ll be cruisin’.
Alexa Federico blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates healthy recipes and shares her life experiences living with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. She is a firm believer that “food is medicine.” You can follow Alexa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest