7 Affordable Ways for Girls to be Happy and Healthy in College
Most of us don’t consider ways to be happy and healthy in college. Between classes, part-time jobs, and internships, life gets stressful. And many people move away from home, which means you have to make new friends and piece together a new life to feel like you belong. For many people, it’s overwhelming.
But, a healthy mind and body can help you better deal with the stress of your college years. And by doing a few simple things every day, you can significantly improve your mental and physical health.
Below, you’ll find seven affordable ways for college girls to remain healthy and happy. You’ll be shocked at how much of a positive impact these habits will have on the rest of your life.
1. Exercise Regularly
I can’t understate the importance of regular exercise. Not only does it help you burn calories (which prevents
excessive weight gain and the health problems that come with it), but it also improves your mood.
This is because exercise has a profound impact on not just your muscles, but also your brain. It causes your body to release endorphins, which literally make you feel good. They also promote brain activity, which improves memory and critical thinking skills.
Plus, it’s free! Most colleges include a gym membership in the price of tuition. So if you’re already paying for school, then you can exercise without spending extra money.
But if you don’t like going to the gym, don’t stress. There are other ways of exercising that are just as effective and don’t cost a dime. Running, walking, bike riding, and yoga can all have a huge impact on your health.
The most important thing you can do is find something you like to do, as this is the only way to make exercise a regular part of your life.
2. Eat Well
While exercise is important, your diet is the pillar of your health. No amount of physical activity can make up for poor eating habits, so it’s important to take this seriously.
The bulk of your diet should be made up of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And make sure to get some protein, too, in the form of white mean, beans, and nuts.
Of course, the tricky part is denying yourself all of those tasty treats in the school cafeteria. Colleges are notorious for offering all sorts of tempting yet unhealthy options. But if you eat chicken fingers and ice cream every day, it won’t take long for you to feel unwell.
You don’t have to cut those things out of your diet completely (who doesn’t love ice cream?!). But you have to reserve them for special occasions.
A good way to manage this is to reserve a day to “treat” yourself. Maybe there’s a meal your cafeteria makes once in a while that you really like even though you know it’s not healthy. Save yourself for it, and then you’ll enjoy it even more.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another fundamental part of your health. Yet, college students are notorious for not getting enough.
But in order to function at a high level throughout the day, you have to make sure you sleep (and sleep well).
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Just because your friend only needs six doesn’t mean that you’re the same. If you need eight hours of sleep to feel good, make sure you get it.
Of course, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule requires discipline. You have to make sure to get your work done. This means that, during the busiest parts of the semester, you might have to skip some social events to get enough rest.
It’s never fun to miss parties and trips. But by putting your sleep first, you’ll enjoy much better health and will live much more happily than if you try to burn the candle at both ends.
4. Avoid Binge Drinking
Let’s face it:
Very few freshmen (or sophomores, or even juniors) are of legal drinking age. But it’d be ignorant to pretend that alcohol isn’t a part of the college experience.
So if you drink, it’s important to understand this:
Binge drinking, defined as four drinks in two hours for women, is terrible for your health. There’s nothing good about delivering a dose of poison to your body in a short period of time.
Too many long nights of partying will leave you feeling lethargic and depleted of energy.
Over time, it can take a toll on your mental health. We tend to do stupid things when we’re intoxicated, which can result in guilt and regret (emotions that don’t lend themselves to a healthy mindset).
Instead, you should make sure to drink responsibly. Manage yourself when out with friends. Keep your consumption reasonable, and always mix in plenty of water.
5. Make Good Friends
If you moved away from home to pursue your education, you’ll have to build a new community at school. Make sure
to find a good group of friends that make you feel comfortable, supported, and healthy.
It’s important to realize that many of the bad decisions we make in regards to our health come from peer pressure and our attempts to fit in. If you spend your time around people who live unhealthy lifestyles, you’ll likely fall into the same trap.
Take stock of who you hang around with and how they spend their time. If you don’t agree with their decisions and find yourself constantly fighting peer pressure, then it might be time to find a new squad.
I can’t pretend like this is easy, but it’s really crucial for your happiness and well-being.
6. Get Involved
How many times have you heard someone say, “College is what you make of it”?
I’d guess a lot. Probably so many that you’re now rolling your eyes just reading it.
But it’s true. In fact, it’s true for any experience in life.
Getting involved in school costs nothing more than your time, but it’s an excellent way to ensure you’re living healthily and happily. Clubs and organizations allow you to try new things with new people, which can help you form stronger bonds than you will at parties.
It also helps you build a community that can support you in your efforts to be healthy and happy.
7. Leave Time for Yourself
Between classes, studying, and social events, it’s rare that you’ll have time to yourself. But, it’s important to set aside a few hours each week to relax and collect your thoughts.
How you spend your “me time” is entirely up to you. Maybe you spend half a day binging on Netflix, or sitting in the park on your own. Or perhaps you use your time to exercise or meditate.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you carve out a chunk of your week to be with yourself and no one else.
Staying happy and healthy in college is harder than it should be. But it’s not as difficult as it seems.
These seven tips cost very little or nothing at all, and they’ll have a profound impact on your life.
Give them a try and start making your health a priority. It will elevate you in all that you do and make life a far more enjoyable experience.
About the Author
Aaron Hunt is the Property Manager for Prime Place Apartments, a student housing community located just off-campus at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.