Although going away to college brings promises of new friends, independence, and freedom from parental supervision, it also brings guarantees of extra stress and temptations.  Below are some quick tips to help you make it through the school year at tip top shape.

  • Healthy eating habits
    • College dining halls can offer lots of comfort foods, and without parents to supervise intake, it's easy to get caught up with poor eating habits.  Although you don't have to give up your favorite foods, it is important to consume all foods in moderation.  If counting carbs and calories isn't your style, try this simple trick instead to make sure you're eating a balanced meal.  By filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, on quarter of it with meat, and the other quarter with bread or grain, you can easily make sure each meal is a balanced one.  In addition to what is on your plate, you can also have a cup of dairy and a cup of fresh fruit off to the side to complete the meal.
    • Avoid fad and crash diets.  Fad diets often sport extreme results in a short time frame and claim to work by completely eliminating one or more food groups.  Examples of fad diets are the Atkin's diet and the South Beach diet.  Often times these diets are not based on healthy eating habits and are not any more efficacious for long term weight loss than normal diets.
  • Check out your school's recreational facility and activity based clubs
    • Most colleges will have a recreational facility that students can use for free.  Be sure to explore the facility as many schools will have pools, racquetball courts, and even rock climbing walls in addition to weights and treadmills.
    • Even if you weren't a star athlete in high school, there may be a club or intramural team that you can join to stay in shape and meet new friends.  While most schools will have traditional sports, your school may also have other teams such as ultimate Frisbee and maybe even inner tube water polo!
  • Learn to identify stress and know how to cope
    • Stress will present itself differently from person to person.  For example, while some people eat a ton when they are stressed, others will hardly eat anything.  Stress can take a toll on your health and prevent you from performing at your best.  To help decrease your stress levels try your best to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, exercise on a regular basis, and eat healthy.  Taking short, frequent breaks from studying will also help you feel less overwhelmed.
    • If you find that the stress seems to be piling up and you don't know where to turn, look into the mental health services offered by your school.  Your on campus student health network will have a team of professionals to help you work out any problems you may be facing.