Many college students feel they can’t find the time to keep up on their personal health and wellness until an illness or mental health crisis stops them in their tracks And it’s no wonder
Stetson’s academic rigor and active community and social engagement are sure to keep students busy
But Stetson provides great activities and resources to help keep you well! From the Hollis Center to the Counseling Center, many resources for wellness are at your fingertips! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you journey through your college education:
College students aren’t exactly known for their “early to bed, early to rise” attitudes, but getting sleep is an integral part of staying healthy. Check out these tips to help you make sure you’re resting enough.
Take a nap. If you have the time during the day, a short nap can do wonders for your energy levels. Just make sure not to nap too close to bedtime or for too long, and a nap will do your body good.
Don’t do work in bed.
Working in bed can make getting to sleep harder. Keep your work space separate from your sleep space to keep insomnia at bay.
Get a full night’s rest whenever possible. While the amount of sleep each person needs varies, most people need 7-9 hours to feel fully rested. While this may not be possible every night, try to sleep a full night whenever you get the chance.
Stick to a schedule. With different classes and work hours every day, it can be hard to stick to a schedule, but keeping sleep times similar from day to day can greatly improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Understand that lack of sleep can have a big impact. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you cranky. It can also reduce your ability to concentrate and to excel in class, so try to get as much sleep as you need.
Discuss bedtimes with roommates.
When sharing a room with someone, it can be hard to go to bed when you need to and not get woken up when you don’t want to. Try to work with your roomies to make sure each of you gets the sleep you need.
While you may feel like you need to study all night to do well, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Not getting enough sleep can impair your ability to do well, regardless of how much you’ve studied, so make sure you get at least a little sleep before your big test.
Create a bedtime routine.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you can help yourself by creating a routine that will let your mind and body know that bedtime is approaching and that it should get into sleep mode. After a few weeks of practice, this should help you fall asleep when you need to.
Avoid caffeine, eating and drinking right before bed.
All of these activities can throw off your body’s internal clock, so try to limit meals, alcohol and caffeine consumption to a few hours before bed.
Keep your room dark and quiet.
While college campuses are hardly either, try to keep your room as dark, quiet and cool as possible. This will help tell your body that it’s time for bed and help you get and stay asleep.
Students can get run down with so much going on. These tips can help you beat the stress.
Create a routine.
If you get yourself in the habit of studying, working out, and sleeping at certain hours, it will be easier to fit in all the things you need to do in a day without feeling too stressed out.
Put limits on work hours.
You can’t work all the time-fun and relaxation have to be part of your routine as well. Limit the times when you will work to give yourself time to sleep and rest up, so you won’t get sick.
Give yourself a break.
If you’ve been working steadily for hours, give your eyes and mind a chance for a rest by taking a break. You can come back feeling more refreshed and ready to go.
Sometimes there’s just no way you’re going to get done everything you’d like to in one day. Be realistic about your goals and understand that you can only do so much.
Understand you can’t do everything. While you might want to go to class, work, play a sport, and participate in clubs and social activities, the reality is that sooner or later you’re going to get run down by trying to do so much. Focus on doing the things you truly love and forget about the rest.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help from professors and friends. They may be able to give you more time or help you to complete projects and studying more quickly.
Cut back if needed.
Sometimes students overwhelm themselves with everything they have going on. If you feel like you’ve got too much on your plate, cut back work hours, drop a class or cut out some extracurricular activities to make your schedule more manageable.
Relax with hobbies.
Whether you like to paint or destroy aliens with your friends in video games, making time for the things you love is an important part of keeping yourself from getting too stressed out.
Give yourself plenty of time.
It’s easy to put off starting on a big project or studying for a test until the last minute. You’ll be much less stressed out, however, and will likely do better if you give yourself more time to work on it.
Spend time with friends.
There are few things that can cheer you up like being around the people you like most. Eat dinner with friends or just hang out and watch TV or take a walk to get away from the stress of homework.
Don’t let yourself get run down.
With so much to do, it’s easy to get run down. If you feel yourself getting stretched too thin, take a step back and evaluate your schedule and workload to determine what’s really important.
Learn time management skills.
Time management skills will make everything from getting assignments done to managing work a lot easier. Visit the Academic Success Center for personalized time management tips. You deserve to get all you can out of every hour of the day.
College students are in a high-risk group for depression, so make sure you keep yourself happy and healthy with these simple tips.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help with their depression or other mental health concerns. But many of these experiences are normal and treatable. You don’t have to deal with it alone. Call the Counseling Center or speak with your roommates
Keep in touch with family and friends.
You can help beat homesickness and loneliness by keeping in touch with friends and family members
Build new friendships.
A big part of the college experience is meeting new people and forming new friendships. So get out there and meet new people whenever possible.
Expect things to change.
Things will change both at home and in your school life, so expect things to change over time. You will grow and so will the people around you.
Understand that it may take the time to fit in.
Most people don’t make best friends on the first day of college. It takes the time to build friendships, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t fit in right away.
Don’t let stress get the best of you.
Stress can be a major factor in many students’ depression. If you are feeling stressed out, make sure to take a break and set aside time to relax. See the tips in the section above!
Realize you don’t have to please everyone. There is no way that you can make everyone happy all the time. Concentrate on making yourself happy first, and you’ll cut out lots of stress and hassle from your life.
Know the signs of depression.
It can be hard to differentiate a simple slump from serious depression so learn the signs of depression not only for your own benefit but for the benefit of your friends as well.
Build on your confidence.
If you know you’re good at certain things, build on the confidence you take from these activities rather than concentrating on your faults.
Find strength in numbers.
You may have an easier time feeling good and fitting in if you find a group of students who share similar interests and values.
Sometimes volunteering can give you a sense of satisfaction you can’t get from work or class work, so get out there and help others in your community.
Get involved on campus.
Joining clubs and social groups on campus can help you to meet new friends and keep you from feeling lonely or isolated.
Set goals. You’ll be more motivated and positive if you give yourself goals to work towards throughout the school year.
Fitting exercise into a busy schedule isn’t always the easiest thing, but take stock of some of these tips to help you get on track to fitness.
Help yourself avoid injuries by stretching each time you exercise. Simple stretches before and after you work out or engage in physical activity can help keep you active and pain-free.
Ride your bike.
Instead of driving across campus or to downtown Deland, try biking instead. It will give you a few minutes of exercise that you normally wouldn’t get. If you need help or have questions about biking on campus, contact Stetson Cycles or GreenBikes.
Play a sport.
One way to get yourself motivated to exercise is to make it game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or play a club sport. You’ll get active and have fun at the same time.
Use safety equipment.
No matter what sport you’re playing, make sure you always use the proper safety equipment. It will keep you from getting hurt, which will allow you to stay active more consistently.
Head to the gym.
The Hollis Center is here for YOU! If you haven’t already, stop by and sign your waiver so you can start working out. Head to the Hollis Center between classes or when you get up in the morning to squeeze in a quick workout.
Take advantage of group fitness.
Wellness and Recreation offer several group fitness classes such as kickboxing and Zumba, to help you get fit. Misery loves company, right?!
Walk to class.
If biking isn’t an option for you, don’t automatically jump in the car and drive to class or your residence hall. Stetson is a very small campus. If you walk to where you need to go, you’ll stretch your legs, burn some calories, and relax before the next item on your busy schedule.
Incorporate different kinds of exercise in your routine.
When you work out, don’t just stick to one kind of workout. Incorporate strength training, cardio, and stretching exercises into your routine to make it well-rounded.
Make it fun.
You’re probably not going to work out if you are bored with your routine or find going to the gym torture. Find a way to make it fun for yourself, and you’ll be much more likely to keep it up.
Bring a friend.
With someone else relying on you to shows up, you’ll be much more likely to make an effort to work out. Plus, working out with a friend can be a great way to make working out more fun.
Take advantage of open spaces.
Palm Court, Stetson Green, and other open spaces on campus are yours to use. Walk around or play Frisbee. Being active in these spaces is also a great way to meet new people.
DIET AND NUTRITION
What? The Commons is all-you-care-to-eat?! And Dominoes takes HatterBucks?! Follow these tips to help keep your body fueled and ready to meet the demands of your college experience.
Learn proper portion size.
To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you’re eating. For most people, meat servings should be about the size of a deck of cards and other servings vary by the type of food.
Vary your meals.
When the Commons has your favorite foods daily, it can be easy to return to those old favorites every day. Changing up your diet from day to day is an important part of good nutrition so take advantage of the variety of selections available to you.
Start your day off right with a good meal when you get up. Whether you’re rolling out of bed at noon or up at the crack of dawn, make sure you start your day with a balanced, healthy meal.
Keep healthy snacks around.
It’s easy to eat healthy if you keep the Cheetos at bay and stock up your room with fruits and other healthy snacks. You’ll be more likely to reach for these than junk food if you keep them nearby or in your backpack.
Don’t fight stress by eating.
It can be tempting to reach for a bag of chips or some cookies when you’re stressed out about an impending exam. Eating won’t help your stress go away, so avoid filling up on snacks. Try working out or taking a break instead.
Drinking enough water can help boost your concentration as well as keep you from overeating. Make sure to keep hydrated as you go through your day by bringing water with you.
Limit sugary and caffeinated beverages.
Beverages may not fill you up, but they sure can add the calories and have a detrimental effect on your overall health. You don’t have to completely give up soda and coffee, but you should scale back to keep yourself in tip top shape.
Try to eat fruits and veggies.
Even if fruits and vegetables don’t comprise some of your favorite foods, try to incorporate at least a few of them into your diet each day.
Limit junk food.
Junk food is fast and easy, and many students end up eating a lot of it while they’re on the run to class or work. While a little fast food now and then won’t hurt you, make sure it doesn’t become a habit. And if you have to stop for something quick, make healthier choices such as grilled chicken or salads.
Make it convenient to eat right.
Don’t make it hard for yourself to eat right. Buy healthy foods and stock your mini-fridge and room with them to ensure they’re the first things at hand when you get hungry.
Don’t skip meals.
With so much to do, it’s easy to forgo eating to run off to class or the library. Don’t skip meals. Set up foods you can eat on the run, so you’ll have the energy to keep going.
Indulge every once in a while.
A little treat now and then is a great way to reward yourself for eating a healthy diet. Give yourself a break and indulge in food you love but can’t eat all the time.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the nutrition you need from your diet, don’t hesitate to supplement it with some multi-vitamins to stay healthy and illness-free.
Get help for eating disorders.
Many college students struggle with negative body image and eating disorders. If you are worried you have an eating disorder and want help, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you trust or come to the Counseling Center.
With communal living and a couple of thousand other students sharing classroom space, spreading colds and viruses is easy if you’re not careful. These tips can help keep you from getting sick.
Wash your hands. Studies have shown that simple hand washing can help prevent a large number of illnesses. So wash your hands, especially any time you’ll be touching your nose, mouth, or eyes or if you’ve been around others who are sick.
Avoid sharing beverages.
Germs are easily spread through the sharing of drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, so get your own and avoid sharing with friends.
Don’t go to class…if you’re sick.
Don’t force yourself if you’re not feeling well. It will only make you feel worse and infect other students. Email your professors that you are ill and stay in
your room and rest. Whether or not an absence will be excused is ultimately up to each professor. Weighing the risk of an unexcused absence against the risk of infecting the whole class, it may be worth “taking one for the team,” so to speak.
Get to the doctor
If you have symptoms that aren’t showing any signs of clearing up within a few days, you may need to take a trip to Student Health Services, or your doctor if you have one in the local area. Simple illnesses can mutate into much more serious ones if left alone so make sure to seek help if you aren’t feeling any better.
Drink lots of fluids.
Colds and flu can wreak havoc on your body, often depriving it of much-needed fluids. Replenish these by drinking plenty of water when you’re ill.
Get a flu shot.
With so many germs around, sometimes getting a flu shot is the best thing you can do to avoid getting sick. Contact Health Services.
Wear shoes in the shower.
Residence Hall bathrooms are cleaned pretty often but can become dirty quickly with so many students sharing them. Always make sure to wear some shoes in the shower to avoid getting viruses and bacteria that can cause warts and athlete’s foot (yeah, gross!).
Avoid ill friends.
If your friend is sick, try to avoid spending too much time around them. While bringing soup or medications won’t hurt, touching ill friends and their stuff can increase your chances of getting sick yourself.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
If your hands aren’t totally clean, try to avoid touching these areas. The membranes in these areas make it easy for bacteria and viruses to enter your body.
Try simple over-the-counter remedies.
Most viruses leave you feeling miserable but with no recourse in medications that can make them go away. Try out over the counter remedies to help ease your symptoms.
Keep immunizations up-to-date.
While most students will have been immunized as a child, some shots may need to be updated when you enter college. Double check your records to make sure you have everything you need to keep from contracting serious illnesses.
A college is a place where many students choose to explore their sexuality. Students can do this safely by following these tips.
Protect your sexual health by getting tested for STI’s annually or even more frequently. Student Health Services offers STI testing and hosts HIV testing events usually once per semester. Call for more information: 386-822-8150.
Always use protection.
Always make sure to use protection to prevent the risk of contracting a disease. Remember that hormonal birth control does not protect against STI’s or HIV.
Discuss issues with your partner.
Sex shouldn’t be painful or scary. If you are nervous or uncomfortable with any element of your sexual relationship, make sure to bring these things up with your partner or health care provider to make sure things are emotionally and physically okay.
Get regular exams.
Whether you’re male or female, getting your equipment checked out regularly is a must. Women can get a well-woman exam, which includes a PAP, STI testing, and birth-control testing, at Student Health Services.
Take advantage of vaccinations.
The HPV vaccination is now readily available, for both males and females. Take advantage of the vaccine and reduce your chance of contracting the HPV virus which in females, is the leading cause of almost all cervical cancers.
Attend informational classes
Seminars are frequently offered that discuss sexual issues, so you can educate yourself and learn to stay healthy and happy. You can also take the
MyStudentBody.com online course here: http://www.stetson.edu/administration/wellness-and-recreation/aod/mystudentbody.php
Find someone to talk to
Many students in college have questions about their sexuality, and some even feel confused. It helps to find someone you can trust to talk to in order to help you find some direction and figure out who you are. Remember that the Counseling Center has professional counselors available to talk to you: 386-822-8900.
Consent is key
Remember that not only does “no mean no,” but “only yes means yes.” Get consent from your partner each and every time you engage in sexual activity. Also, remember that consent cannot be given while under the influence.
Here are a few other tips to keep you happy and healthy all along your journey through college.
Avoid walking to class in flip flops. Yes, we know, it’s practically the school uniform of every Florida college, but few flip flops provide the support needed for your feet. If you are walking long distances, it’s best to leave the sandals at home and avoid the arch pain and pinching associated with them. If you’re just walking a short distance, you’re probably okay.
Keep backpacks from being too heavy.
An overfilled backpack can hurt your back and leave you with some serious back and shoulder pain later. Make sure your backpack is properly fitted and avoid carrying around more than you need.
College students on spring break aren’t usually to whip out the BullFrog. While getting a tan may prove you spent your break on a beach, it can also be a source of skin cancer, so make sure to protect yourself.
Ensure that your medical insurance covers either Student Health Services or another provider in the area. All students are required to have health insurance. Stetson has a designated insurance plan that you can purchase if you arrive at campus uninsured.
For more information go to http://www.stetson.edu/administration/health-service/
Monitor existing health conditions carefully.
If you leave for college knowing you have a pre-existing medical condition, make arrangements to ensure that it’s properly monitored while you’re at school.
Be aware that health concerns differ for males and females.
Educate yourself on specific aspects of wellness to keep yourself healthier and to know what to watch out for.
Assert yourself. Don’t let anyone make health or wellness decisions for you that you feel uncomfortable with. If you don’t want to eat that donut or have that drink, then don’t. Welcome to college: You’re in charge now!