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New Year, New Semester: 5 Tips to Ensure Healthy Habits during Spring Semester
It’s almost that time again – Syllabus Week aka the start of a new semester. Knowing how to start a semester off strong can be one of the most important skills to learn during your time in college. After all, the choices you make during the first few weeks (and even days) of a new semester can have long-lasting effects. And we’re not just talking about academics. Between classes, cramming for exams and maintaining a social life, you may be forgetting to maintain your health. It’s important to implement healthy habits from the get-go!
Here are 5 tips for college students to start the new semester off the healthy way:
Take charge of your sleep habits.
Staying up until 3 am to finish a project (or go out with friends), getting a few hours’ sleep, and then heading to a 9 am class may strike you as the norm in college. But shortchanging yourself on sleep, regardless of the reason, can lead to sleep deprivation — and some serious health consequences. Making the effort to get enough sleep every night will help you keep up your grades, feel better, and have more energy for the things you really want to do. Try sticking to a sleep schedule and waking up close to the same time every day – even weekends.
Make time for exercise.
Did you know physical exercise improves the ability to learn and study? Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of college students don't get the recommended levels of weekly physical activity, and chances are its reflective of class scheduling. Try to schedule classes around key meals and leave time (and energy) for physical activity. Before the semester starts, map out a fitness schedule each day or a few days a week for some vigorous exercise to give your body and mind a good workout.
Eat a balanced diet.
We've all been there: leftover pizza for breakfast, M&M's for lunch, and coffee with muffins for dinner. Consuming a diet focused on nutrient-rich produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat will provide you with the necessary energy to keep you alert and mentally focused throughout your day. Prepare foods ahead of time to take with you. This will help avoid the temptation of fast foods. Salads or wraps are good meal options. Healthy snack options include whole fruit, cut-up vegetables, mixed nuts and string cheese. For those busy days when a sit down meal isn’t possible, grab a Juice Plus+ Complete Nutrition Bar for a healthy snack on-the-go.
Relieve stress the healthy way.
You don't need to have a Ph.D. to know that college is stressful. Have things already in place – like a good group of friends, exercise plans, hobbies, and smart ways to avoid pitfalls (like knowing how to avoid test anxiety) – that will allow you to mentally check out and relax when things get intense.
Feeling hungry? You could be confusing thirst for hunger. Remember, your body needs at least eight glasses a day, and, if you exercise vigorously, you may need more. Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle to class or in your backpack to allow your body to function properly and refuel throughout the day. And stay away from soda and sugary energy drinks, which can cause even further dehydration – not to mention those calories can really add up!
These are just a few of our tips for a healthy start to the new semester. What tips do you have for forming healthy habits at the start of the semester?