Top Tips to Staying Healthy In College: Student Health Tips and Wellness Advice

A person sits with their head buried behind a stack of books on a desk.

Navigating the ups and downs of college life can be a thrilling yet challenging journey. From late-night study sessions to new social experiences, college students often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities that can strain their physical and mental health.

In fact, studies show that college students are more likely to struggle with mental and physical health issues than non-college adults. The combined stress of academic demands, social pressures, and financial insecurity can overwhelm some.

So, how can you ensure that you maintain a balanced lifestyle during these transformative years? Here are some practical health and wellness tips every college student should know.

Know How To Manage Your Stress

Stress is a standard part of college life, but when it becomes chronic, it can affect your academic performance and overall health. 

After all, when you have a test on Tuesday, a paper due Wednesday, and an internship interview Thursday, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To remain healthy and productive in college, make sure that you practice stress management techniques.

  • Identify Stressors: The first step is understanding what stresses you. It could be academic pressure, social situations, or financial issues. Once you’ve identified these stressors, you can create strategies to address them.
  • Time Management: Prioritize your tasks, create a realistic schedule, and stick to it. Use tools like calendars or apps to keep track of assignments and deadlines.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice mindfulness techniques, like meditation or deep-breathing exercises. These can help reduce stress levels and improve focus.
  • Reach Out: Don’t hesitate to seek help from friends, family, or campus counseling services. You’re not alone!
Two women high-five one another on an outdoor track, wearing fitness wear.

Get Some Exercise

Regular exercise is not just good for your body – it also can boost your concentration and memory. 

Try to schedule in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. And here’s the secret – there are tons of ways that you can get active without spending a fortune. Take a walk, ride your bike, or join an online yoga class – whatever works for you!

  • Make It a Habit: Find a physical activity you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine. Even a 20-minute walk can make a difference.
  • Use Campus Facilities: Most colleges offer gym facilities or sports activities. Take advantage of these!
  • Be Active in Your Downtime: Use your breaks to stretch, take a walk or do some quick exercises.

Keep An Eye On Your Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet fuels your brain and body. And while it’s tempting to shovel down cafeteria food or grab processed snacks from the gas station, you’ll soon find that they lack the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay energized.

  • Meal Planning: Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid last-minute unhealthy choices. Include a mix of proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Cook at Home: Not only is this usually cheaper, but it also allows you to control the ingredients in your meals.
  • Healthy Snacking: Keep healthy snacks on hand for late-night study sessions. Opt for nuts, fruits, and yogurt instead of chips and cookies.

You Need To Sleep

We know, we know – the best parts of college are often the late-night “study sessions” and all-nighters, but that won’t do your body any favors. 

Sleep is essential for concentration and memory, so make sure to get 7 to 8 hours every night. The better rested you are, the more alert you will be in class!

  • Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule: Routine is king and queen of a healthy life. Try to create a consistent sleeping routine that has you going down and rising at similar times each day.
  • Keep Your Environment Pro-Sleep: Ever feel like you can’t get to sleep at night? Make sure your sleeping area is cool, dark and quiet.
  • Avoid Screen Time Before Bed: Part of that pro-sleep environment is your pre-sleep routine. The blue light emitted by phones and laptops can interfere with your sleep. Try to switch off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
A girl sits hunched over a computer at a desk, looking stressed.

Stay Aware Of Your Mental Health

Studies show that physical activity can improve your mental health and help reduce stress. However, you should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, seek professional help. You don’t have to go through it alone!

  • Talk About Your Feelings: Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor can relieve and make you feel understood.
  • Practice Self-Care: Set aside time each day for relaxation and activities you enjoy.
  • Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you’re feeling persistently down or anxious, don’t hesitate to seek help from campus counseling or mental health services.
  • Have an Outlet Beyond School: Make sure you have activities and friends outside of school to help balance the stressors of college life.

Remember, your nutrition and mental health are equally important. Eating nutrient-dense foods can give you the energy and stamina needed to get through a challenging school year. Exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety – so make sure to find an activity you enjoy and work into your schedule.

The Bottom Line

As a college student, you are building a foundation to build a fulfilling and meaningful future. But that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your mental and physical health!

Be conscious of how you are taking care of your body and mind – make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy, stay active, and reduce stress as much as possible. With the right rhythms and habits in place, you can set yourself up for a successful and healthy college experience!