5 Habits to Start Now for a Lifetime of Well-Being

The hectic lifestyles of college students can sometimes lead to bad habits: all-nighters, lots of caffeine, Netflix binges, etc. There’s nothing wrong with an Expresso on a late night or staying up a little to celebrate a friend’s birthday. But it’s important to maintain good habits to sustain the energy you need to be successful while in school! Check out these five healthy habits

1. Find time to exercise
Exercise can improve your life in lots of ways: it makes you feel better, boots your energy and it can even add years to your life!  The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate or 70 minutes of intensive exercise. Let’s put that in perspective…. a brisk 20 minute walk each day or two 35-minute cardio sessions each week can give you all the benefits listed above.  Totally worth it.

2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique where one maintains a moment-by-moment awareness of her/his thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Why practice mindfulness? Research shows this calming technique strengthens your immune system, improves social relationships, reduces anxiety and increases happiness.  To get started, try one of these online mediations:

Breathing Exercises              Deep Relaxation               Guided Mediation

3. Eat for nourishment!
When life is busy we often sacrifice meals or make poor dietary choices.  How often do you use sugar or caffeine to make it through a demanding day? The fact is that eating healthy helps fuel your body and brain. Here are a few small steps to take to create healthier eating habits.

  • Drink more water so you feel fuller, reduce cravings, and energize muscles. Substitute a soda or coffee with water or add water to your snack routine.
  • Eat breakfast every day! Studies show that people who eat breakfast better maintain their weight, enhance their memory and boost antivirals that stave off colds and the flu. Need a quick breakfast? Try some instant oatmeal or peanut butter toast. Or if you are on-the-go grab a protein bar or banana to start your day.
  • Plan ahead.  Everyone snacks so bring a stash of healthy snacks with you (nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, etc.) when you do get the inevitable case of the munchies!

4. Get enough sleep and rest!
Sleep is essential for health and well-being. And did you know that according to research, students who got a good night’s sleep performed betteron exams?  Not only that, those who slept seven hours had grades nearly 10 percent higher than those students who got less sleep!  Here are some ways to improve your sleep pattern:

  • Minimize noise and light (turn OFF your devices)
  • Don’t drink or eat caffeine four to six hours before bed time
  • Keep naps brief: 10-30 minutes in the afternoon
  • Develop a regular bed time and go to bed at the same time each night

5. Find ways to reduce stress each week!
There are lots of ways to destress so do things that are calming and fun for you. But consider trying one of the following to help relieve any anxiety or tension you are feeling:

  • Relieve tension through a massage. Visit the Relaxation Station in the Wellness Resource Center
  • Call a family member or friend to boost your mood and meaningfully connect with others.
  • Clean up! Physical clutter competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.  Decluttering can really boost your motivation and focus.
  • Create a relaxing playlist. Music with slstress.
  • Do a random act of kindness. By helping others we help ourselves. Research shows that small, kind gestures diffuse stress and improve mental health. So write a quick thank you or send an e-card to a friend – it’s an instant mood lifter!