If you look at my Facebook or Instagram, you’ll see countless pictures of me stupidly posing with my tongue out at tailgates, pool parties, mixers, and themed parties, but what happens behind the scenes is far more intensive than one would assume. Being a college student may seem all fun and games, but to be honest, it’s not. I seriously live in the library (kid you not I got that as my sorority superlative so #turnup).
I try my best to balance school, studying, work, and working out, but sometimes things need to be sacrificed in order for me to get everything done. Unfortunately, due to the extreme amounts of FOMO I’d get if I were to miss out on a social outing, what’s typically sacrificed is my sleep, working out, and eating well.
This brings us to the pending questions: How can we, as busy socialite college kids, stay healthy is this day and age? And wtf does it even mean to be healthy anymore?
Truth is, there’s no definitive answer to these questions. According to Merriam Webster, health is defined as: “the condition of being well or free from disease.” However, that just seems to barely scratch the surface of what being healthy entails. To me, being healthy is focusing on your overall wellness; your body, soul, and mind. Being healthy is being balanced in all aspects of your life.
So how can we find that balance? Do we binge eat kale and pound ginger shots until our throats burn while pulling an all-nighter in the library to balance out those glasses of wine you drank last night while you should’ve been studying? Nah, that’s not how this works.
To find this ever so elusive balance we must do everything in moderation, and I mean everything.
Focus on yourself. What makes you happy and what makes you feel good. So what if you don’t give into the health crazes. Truth is, they aren’t as healthy as people think.
Work out, but don’t over do it. According to WebMD, it is in fact possible to exercise too much (shocker, I know). I’m a lazy mofo, so I can’t say I’ve come across this issue, but over-exercising can cause injuries, exhaustion, and depression. Instead of overdoing it, take baby steps. All it takes is as little as 30 minutes a day of physical activity to improve your health. Maybe instead of taking the elevator to class, go for the stairs. That’s all it takes. Work out because it’ll make you feel amazing after and because it’ll add to your overall well-being, not because you’re worried about the pool party this weekend.
And when you’re not partying it up, I know the stress of classes, exams, papers, etc., can, and usually will, build up all at once, but try not to stress too much. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stress myself out frequently, but prolonged levels of stress are bad for your body.
According to the American Psychological Association, high levels of stress can not only take a serious emotional toll on your body, but can also lead to more serious health issues like anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and high blood pressure. Some easy ways to alleviate stress (other than stress-eating, of course) are taking a walk around campus, going for a drive, or simply just getting a change of scenery.
Eat healthy, but treat yo self. Being skinny doesn’t make you healthy. Sorry to all you thigh-gapped betches out there, but you’re not the poster child for health. Aim for the majority of your food intake being non-processed foods and keep an eye out for colorful, organic, nutrient-dense foods. But if you’re craving something sweet, don’t hold yourself back. And remember, under-eating will slow down your metabolism and cause more fat storage, so EAT people.
And finally, make sure you’re well-rested. Seems pretty self explanatory but this is the most over-looked aspect of health. Us college students need around 8 hours of sleep a night, and how many of us can say we actually reach that goal? Probably not many of us, myself included. Not only will you feel 100% better if you sleep enough, but there are actually a ton of health benefits that come along with it.
To summarize it:
Focus on what makes you happy.
Workout, but not too much.
Eat healthy, but indulge.
Take a moment to break away from your stress.
And finally, sleep.
Seems simple enough, right? Let’s try it.