Going off to college or university is a huge step in any young adult’s life. You get to meet new people, explore new outlets of learning and lock yourself in your room for countless hours of the day with nothing more than your books and an oversized bag of Doritos to add to your daily caloric intake. Oh and, of course, there’s the partying.
Let’s face it, as much as we would all love to say that we’re immune to the “Freshman 15”, any post-secondary schooling is going to be stressful and, if you plan on attending for more than just your first semester, you’re going to be kept very VERY busy.
With trying to keep on top of both your academics and your social life, it can all get a little overwhelming at times, but if you take heed to some of the friendly advice below, you can be sure your college years are going to be the best ones of your life; academically, socially, and physically.
Stretch every morning
It doesn’t take long, we promise, and you can even keep your PJs on to do it. Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier than you normally would and take that time to go through a basic stretching routine. Door stretch for your chest; child’s pose for your back; hamstring stretch on the floor; standing quad stretch…devote 30 seconds to each of these and you`re all set to face the day.
Join a REC team
Hopefully your school offers a REC club or some other form of recreational team organization. There is no better way to combine the social with the physical than by getting a group of great people together and joining a non-competitive activity. These usually run once or twice a week and don’t take up much of your time; plus, it forces you to schedule in exercise without it feeling like a daunting task. Take up dodgeball or flag football, volleyball or basketball…and don’t be intimidated that you may not be the best at the sport because chances are, the other people in the club aren’t much better.
Take activity breaks while studying
There are so many studies out there now that suggest that our brains are really only able to focus on something efficiently for about 90 minutes at a time. Instead of wasting away at the library for a solid 4 hour shift without so much as getting up to use the washroom, set an alarm (put it on vibrate if you’re in the library) that goes off every hour to remind you to get up and go for a walk. Your body and your brain will thank you for it.
Get an active part-time job
If you need a little extra cash flow and have time to get yourself a part-time job, try to make it one that forces you to be active during your shift. Become a campus tour leader, pick up some serving shifts or apply for a job at a retail shop to ensure that you’ll be spending your working hours walking around.
Make good choices
Okay, we’re not here to lecture you on those types of choices as I’m sure your parents have already gone a little overkill with that. Do try and make good food choices though. Prepare yourself for the inevitability of snacking while studying by keeping healthy food on hand with you and don’t wait until you’re starving to go and get something to eat. Keep yourself fed and hydrated throughout the day – this is a must!
Parents – get active too
It’s always hard to watch your children moving out into the world, but with your kids finally leaving the nest, maybe it’s time you started doing a little something for yourself again too. Take this opportunity to think about what you’ve always wanted to do but never “had the time” and embrace it. Take up a yoga class or dust off that old road bike you have stored away. Start running in the mornings or join a gym; the opportunities are all out there. The extra activities will help keep you energized and exercise is a great way to reduce any stress you might be feeling about the recent separation. On top of all that, sweating out that excess energy will help you really learn how to relax when you need to most; and at the end of the day, having you choose to relax rather than stress and worry is probably the best option for both you and your college-bound kids.