By Ananya Varre
Going back to school can be exciting and challenging all at once. Here are some things to remember that can help you set your mind and body up for success this fall.
Drink Lots of Water
Rachel Hollis, motivational speaker and author of “Girl, Wash Your Face,” often mentions a single habit (one of her personal “5-to-Thrive”) one should establish before trying anything new. For some, it may sound impossible; yet for others, it may sound easy. You must drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. When I read this, I was one of those people who found that this might be nearly impossible. However, there are a few different ways to motivate yourself to reach that target.
Find a reusable water bottle that you like and carry it around with you at all times. Benefiting the environment is key! Having a nice water bottle around may actually jog your memory and remind you to drink water. Another option is to set reminders on your phone. There are a variety of different apps out there to motivate you to drink water. Set one to a frequency that works for you. I recommend once at the beginning of every hour. Once you establish this habit, you will be on your way to a great start of the school year.
Watch What You Eat
We’ve all heard of the dreaded “Freshman 15,” an expression commonly used in the United States that refers to an amount of weight gained during a student’s first year at college. Hectic schedules, late-night snacking and stress eating can all lead to weight gain at any point in our education; however, this can be prevented quite easily. Taken from my lessons from my freshman year of college, one thing I would recommend is to be careful about what kinds of food you are eating every day. Let’s say that you have pasta for lunch one day, and then quesadillas for dinner the same day. This might be fine to do once in a while, but if you’re having foods that are high in carbs and high in fat every single day, the calories (and weight) can add up quickly. Make sure you balance your meals with fruits and vegetables, and switch out regular grains for whole grains, whether that’s bread or cereal. In addition, make sure you’re not snacking on processed foods all of the time. Moderation is key! Some of my favorite dorm snacks include apples with peanut butter and different fruits, like grapes or blueberries. Make sure to stock your fridge with fruits you love to remind yourself to eat healthier.
Another way to avoid the “Freshman 15” is to exercise. Exercise doesn’t just mean running on a treadmill or going to the gym every day. This might work for some, but not for others. If you are someone who likes to go to the gym and it’s an established routine for you, you can find a great gym membership on your college campus, or try Planet Fitness as they have many great deals for students. Another great way to get exercise is to look for school-sponsored activities like free yoga or Zumba classes. Lastly, walk or ride your bike to class, or take the stairs every time you see them. The little things add up!
Pay Attention To Your Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Being healthy starts from the inside out. Find things that make you happy and less stressed. For example, I like listening to podcasts when I’m walking to class or working out. I also find yoga relaxing and it always calms me down. However, we can’t always fix things on our own and need a little extra help. Many colleges have great mental health resources like counseling at the health center. Remember that it’s OK to get help, and that getting help does not make you weak. Make sure to take time for yourself as well.
Other Things To Remember
First impressions are important! Make sure to introduce yourself to your instructors after class. It is always to your advantage to get to know your instructors and vice versa. If you are on the borderline of a grade, having that connection with your instructor could be beneficial to you. Speaking of connections, join clubs and other activities to meet new people. Having a great network is very important because you will never know who has something that may help you in the future. Also, now is the time to find things you are passionate about! Finding activities and people who make you happy will keep you afloat during some stressful times.