Guide to college life part I: Healthy college living requires small changes

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Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

As college students, we all tend to spread ourselves too thin. From juggling 15 to 18 hours per semester, part-time jobs, organizations and a social life, it’s difficult not to run yourself into the ground trying to manage it all.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is something I have battled throughout my college career.  From spending a whole weekend at the bar to eating Taco Bell at 2 a.m. during a brutal study session, I’ve had a difficult time learning to listen to my body.

I am by no means skinny, and I am not the healthiest person I know. But I am okay with that because I have seen a vast improvement in the way I live my life since stepping foot onto campus. So I am letting you readers in on my secrets to healthy living during these stressful years.

1. A container of One A Day multivitamins was by far one of the best purchases I have made this year.

As its name suggests, you take one a day and get your daily dose of most of the vitamins you need. I find it makes me feel more refreshed throughout the day and just knowing that I have those kinds of nutrients in my body makes me feel well.

2. I think every student should find something to do that can transport them for even just 20 minutes out of the day.

What I mean by this is something to take your mind off things and relieve stress. I have recently taken up yoga. While practicing yoga, I focus on my breathing patterns and the way my body feels, rather than on the meetings, papers and tests I have to do. Whether it is reading, listening to music or running, make sure to take time out of your day to practice something that brings you a peace of mind.

3.  Lately I have been trying to eat less red meat.

Red meat is a wonderful source of iron and other nutrients, but I found that after eating red meat, I felt disgusting and bloated. My fridge is now stocked with turkey burgers, veggie patties and thinly sliced chicken breast fillets.

It is easy to substitute red meats for lean meats. I love spaghetti and for my entire life, I have used ground beef in my sauce. This summer I tried using ground turkey meat, and I barely tasted a difference.

4. Learn to spot a real friend from a fake one.

In the past four months, I have gone through some drastic changes in my life. Because of this, I have learned who my real friends are, who will be there for me at the end of the day and who will always stand by my side no matter what. To live a healthy life, you need to be surrounded by good vibes and encouraging people.

I know it may seem like college is the last place you can find time to practice your favorite hobby, determine who your true friends are and nurture your body, but it is possible. During these trying years, especially my last year at Southern Miss, I have found that these lessons are some of the four most important lessons I have ever learned. College is tough but to get through it all, you have to take time out of the day for yourself.