Have you ever done Whole 30, but it went more like “Whole 30 for 4 days”? Or went on a vegan journey only to find that cutting out huge food groups may not be the smartest idea? Over the last few years, I have become interested in the topic of “holistic health”. Holistic health is basically a more relaxed and enjoyable way to lead a healthy lifestyle. It involves connecting each aspect of your life, emotional and physical health, into an interconnecting system.

Here are some starting points that I’ve used to develop a holistic lifestyle as a college student:

vegetable, berry
Kristine Mahan

1. Do Fitness You (Actually) Enjoy

I get my exercise through three outlets: signing up for local races, doing fitness classes at my campus gym and walking to class. Last year, I ran the Athens Half Marathon, which loops through Athens, GA and UGA's campus. It was easy to gain motivation to run because so many other students were training for the race at the same time. Fitness classes are my all-time favorite thing to do during my free time.

I usually enjoy yoga at 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings and do more intense workouts, like cycling, during the week. It's also a great way to meet friends with similar interests. Lastly, I started walking to class and skipping the bus in order to move more throughout the day. When I'm taking 17 hours of courses, I sit a lot throughout the day, so being able to walk to class is a huge privilege. Exercise should leave you feeling empowered, so pick something that you love to do. Definitely don't go for a run if you're counting the minutes until you're done.

Exercising, working out, motivation, music, exercise, Work Out, gym, hydrate, hydration, Sneakers, water, fitness
Denise Uy

2. Stop & Pay Attention to Your Emotions

We don’t usually consider time management as part of our health, but how we spend our time has a huge effect on our  daily attitude and mental health. Instead of scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning, I start my morning by drinking a large mason jar full of water (which I fill up the night before and set on my nightstand) and do a quick 10 minute routine of yoga stretches. It jump starts my day and sets me up for productivity, instead of going straight for my to-do list. 

lemon, water, lemonade
Caroline Liu

3. Fuel Yourself with Brain Food

Once you’re past freshman year and off the meal plan, it can be challenging to figure out what to eat. At first, I found myself wasting money by eating on campus, and the food I was purchasing wasn’t even food I liked. Instead, I go to Kroger or Aldi every Sunday and prep all my food for the week that afternoon. I usually make one type of grain (rice or quinoa), a few roasted vegetables (sliced and baked in the oven), one form of protein (usually salmon or turkey meatballs), and lots of frozen options- like prepared ingredients for smoothies, soups I previously made in the crockpot, or frozen bread to avoid turning it going stale.

pasta, vegetable, spaghetti
Alex Frank

4. Avoid Stress Eating

Eating a diet heavy in vegetables and eating enough food throughout the day are two of the top ways to avoid binge eating that bag of chips at night. I find that if I prioritize my mornings, naturally intertwine exercise into my day and prepare meals for the week, I'm less likely to feel overwhelmed.

orange, citrus, studying, notes, taking notes, notebook, textbook, study snack, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

Making a few simple changes in your college routine makes life much more enjoyable. In the long run, I want an eating routine that lasts, a workout routine that I enjoy. I want to spend my time in college with purpose. If you hate working out, just start with walking to class. If you’re looking for some motivation, walk around your school’s career fair and start getting inspired. A holistic lifestyle encompasses not only what you consume physically, like food, but also our mentality.