GYM VLOG #12
Author: Julia Dulgerova
So you made the executive decision to take charge of your health as a college student. You’re starting to take the first steps to better health! And you started by changing your food habits.
Whether that’s cooking your own food, ordering a meal service, or choosing better options when eating out, these are incredible positives! And although eating and nutrition are a large part of our health, it’s not the only healthy habit. So, if you’re ready to start taking the next steps to better health, let’s talk about some healthy habits!
Get Restful Sleep
We need proper rest for our minds and bodies to work and function properly. We need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you find it hard to fall asleep, try reading a book before bed. This will relax you and calm your body which allows for you to fall asleep easier. Keep your phone out of sight and out of mind as the blue light will do terrible things to your sleep cycle. Make a to-do list for the things you wish to accomplish tomorrow so you don’t need to worry and try not to forget something you need to do, take a few deep breaths or even do a quick meditation, rub some lavender essential oils on your wrists and behind your ears, and have a night routine. Having a night routine and staying consistent with it will make your body understand when you’re getting ready for sleep. This could mean you take a shower, put on your favorite pajamas, do some skincare, and read a book before you fall asleep. I find this time to be my favorite part of the day and I greatly look forward to it.
Then, of course you can do things like have a mattress pad for comfort, get a great pillow and a weighted blanket. Often, it’s easier to fall asleep when the air around you is cool so maybe get a fan and remove extra blankets.
Wake Up Without a Screen
As I talked about in prior blog posts, it is crucial to wake up and not go directly on your phone. Of course this may be hard and scrolling can be tempting but it will set you up for the rest of your day to keep that screen away. When you go on your phone and scroll through social media, you are immersed in the world of other people. Often people post the ideal parts of their lives and not the real side of it. Right as you wake up, the choices you make will affect the rest of your day and you never know what’s going to come up on your feed so going on your phone right as you wake up is a gamble. Also, it’s bad for your eyes and circadian rhythm as well, but it’s extremely bad for your brain and mental health. You don’t want to start your day comparing yourself to others before you’ve even had time to comprehend a thought of your own.
When you’re too busy with homework, studying, and having fun, exercise may be on the back burner and truthfully not your first priority. But, your body will face the consequences to this. Not getting exercise can lead to many health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. You should aim to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. This can easily be broken down into 30 minute increments for convenience and easier manageability. But this doesn’t mean you need to be going to the gym, instead if you live in an apartment or commute to school, try walking or biking instead of driving (this is a win, win because you will save money on gas). When you’re studying or doing homework, use exercise as your break! Take a quick walk or lift some weight, you could even go up and down the stairs a few times. This will get your blood pumping and keep your heart healthy, and having exercise as your break will keep you looking forward to it.
It’s also important to find an exercise style that you enjoy. Personally, I like to switch it up. If I’m feeling unmotivated or not quite as strong some days, I choose to workout like light pilates or yoga. Then some days I do some weight lifting, while other days I might just stretch and go on a long walk. It depends on your personality and motivation. It might be best for you to stay consistent and stick to a certain type of exercise, or you may prefer doing something different every day. Finding an exercise that you enjoy will make it much easier to stay persistent and consistent.
Maybe Take a Supplement or 2
There are many supplements on the market and many of them either do more harm than good, do nothing at all, or are wonderful. I’m not going to recommend a supplement since I don’t have enough education for that, but i will say that once you choose a supplement right for you, taking it will put you into a routine of wellness. For me, whenever I take my supplement I almost instantly feel healthier even though obviously the supplement hasn’t started working yet. It’s almost more of a mental than physical result. In my mind, me taking my supplement means I am on track and just so healthy and well.
Don’t Forget to Drink Water
Staying hydrated reaps endless benefits and it’s crucial for better health. Even being the slightest bit dehydrated can affect things like memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time. So starting the day off by drinking water and drinking water throughout the day will have a positive effect on your brain cognition, stabilize your emotions, and combat anxiety. Your body also needs water to properly digest food and without enough you may have irregular bowel movement, bloating, and more. Being dehydrated causes your circulation to slow down and affect the flow of oxygen to your brain. Also, a lack of water can cause your heart to work harder to pump oxygen through your body which all leads to you feeling more tired, sluggish, and less focused. The cartilage in our joints contains 80% water so drinking lots of water creates a comfy cushion between our bones which results in smoother moving joints and less aches and pains. The list goes on and on for the benefits of drinking more water, so stay hydrated!
Notice Signs of Stress
Stress can become chronic and lead to lots of negative effects like illness, headaches, insomnia, and decreased productivity. And in the long-term stress can cause things like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Definitely something not a single college student needs.
So, it’s important to learn to acknowledge the warning signs. Soon after stress begins in your head, it will progress to your body. You may experience headaches, an upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, loss of appetite or cravings for foods, and irritability. When you learn what your body does in stress, you can take the next step to cope with this.
It’s important to understand that trying to power through tasks while your stressed will make you less productive and often lead to even more stress. So try taking a brisk walk, take some deep breaths, do a quick meditation, talk with a friend or roommate, and do an activity you enjoy. I have talked about how important it is to sometimes unplug and be left alone with your thoughts but in a situation of stress, it may be helpful to actually distract yourself by listening to a podcast or some music. This will get you out of your own head. I love audiobooks in a situation like this because books can put you in the world of the character you are reading about.
Remind yourself of what you are grateful for, practice some gratitude. This will decrease the effects of a stressful situation and remind you of what and who you love and appreciate. You can also try talking it out. You can talk to your family, your friends, or honesty to yourself by journaling. I find journaling to be a great release of stress when I’m not ready to talk to someone, maybe feel like I might be judged, or just want to write out my thoughts.
Health goes beyond just food, although nutrition is a great part of your body’s ability to function. There are many ways to add health to your body on top of a good diet, and as a college student your options are not limited. Try fitting a healthy habit into your schedule and with consistency it will soon be your new routine!
Here Are Some Resources You Can Use to Implement Healthy Habits!
A Sleeping Mask (block out light for better sleep)
Top Books of 2023
Water Jug for Accountability