Need help now? Text "START" to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Articles

A few easy ways to take care of both your physical and emotional health

Five_ways_to_live_well-301x250

Living well involves paying attention to your emotional, mental and physical health. Below are five ways you can lead a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life in college and beyond.

1. Maintain good physical health. Make your health a priority. This means participating in physical exercise, which boosts your brain functioning, mood and energy and decreases stress and anxiety. Experts typically recommend being active for 30 minutes a day. Be sure to pick activities that you genuinely enjoy and mix it up. Eat well, too. For instance, include fruits and vegetables in your daily intake. Pay attention to your body’s internal signals of hunger and fullness. Avoid dieting, which may be unhealthy and can lead to a vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing.

Sleep is also crucial and students tend to underestimate its importance for cognitive functioning, stress levels and overall mood. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, and keep your caffeine intake to one beverage a day. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol, which can lead to addiction, anxiety, depression, lowered inhibitions, poor judgment and insomnia. Finally, get physical check-ups yearly.

2. Learn to manage stress and cope well. Think about how you manage stress now, and how it affects your stress levels. Getting enough exercise and sleep are great healthy habits that can prevent and reduce stress and help you cope better. Sometimes, you can avoid stress altogether by being organized, not procrastinating and separating projects into smaller parts. Other times, unfortunately, there’s no way around a stressful situation but to face it. For these times, it’s important to rely on healthy coping skills, such as meditation, yoga, writing, drawing, listening to music or talking to a trusted friend. If you’re having a tough time coping with day-to-day demands or specific circumstances, see a counselor.

3. Discover yourself. One of the fun parts about college is going through the challenges and experiences that help you get to know yourself better. Carve out alone time in your week to think about your achievements, strengths and goals.

4. Have healthy relationships. Having a support system is vital to well being. Focus on building authentic relationships that bring meaning to your life. Spend quality time with people who genuinely care about you and want you to be happy and healthy. Focus on being a good friend to someone, too.

5. Explore your career path. Many students have no clue what they want to do career-wise, and that’s OK. College is a time to explore your interests and greater purpose. Ask yourself, “What am I good at? What do I love to do? What classes, activities, books am I passionate about?" Also, focus on getting the most out of your classes, conduct informational interviews about potential career paths and get involved in organizations