Being sick at college is no fun because it means missing classes and social events and then catching up on your work. Your physical and mental health is most likely to determine your happiness and success both on campus and at home.
Here are a few tips on how students can stay healthy at college. Most of this is common sense, but unfortunately, that is often in short supply for 18-22 year olds.
Wash your hands. Yes, the easiest way to prevent illness is to be vigilant about hand -washing. There is no need to be a germa -phobe, but it does make sense to wash before eating and to carry a small container of hand sanitizer and use it when touching surfaces.
Drink water. Coffee may wake you up, but water will keep you going. Substitute at least one glass of water for a cup of coffee each day. Or, better yet, drink a cup of water for every cup of coffee you consume daily. You will feel better. Just carry a water bottle in your backpack and fill it up regularly.
Refuel with healthy snacks. Sometimes students’ schedules prevent them from having “normal” meals at “normal” times. Carry some healthy snacks (granola bars, dried fruit, etc.) that will tide you over until your next meal.
Don’t fill up on fried foods. It’s so tasty, and easy to take advantage of fast-food offerings in the dining hall or in the area surrounding the college campus. Focus instead on a few healthy items that you like and make sure you have at least three fresh/non-processed foods each day.
Track your sleep. Staying up late and then getting up early for class the next day works for about one night in a row. The quickest way to run down your body is to not provide sufficient nourishment through food, water and sleep. There’s so much to do, so many people to hang with, but you’ll miss out on all of it if you get sick. Sleep is the single greatest under-rated commodity on college campuses.
Be social but careful about congregating in groups. Observe social distancing guidelines whenever possible. Strike a balance between your academic life and your social life.
Exercise. Plain and simple, you’ll feel better.
Check out student services. Every campus offers academic support as well as mental health services. Thankfully, much of the stigma of seeing a counselor/ therapist has dissipated and students are more willing to get help sooner. That said, many students unfortunately wait until they are very unhappy and then the road to recovery is longer.