Thursday, October 17, 2013

Liz's Tip of the Week: Staying Healthy on Campus

Since we've completed about 6-7 weeks of classes, and mid-terms are still popping up, between studying, classes, jobs, homework, meetings, and of course your social life, it's easy to forget about maintaining your health. Though it's easy to forget, or put on the back-burner, maintaining your health will benefit you now, and help you establish healthy habits that will stay with you for life. Here are some easy tips to staying healthy and happy while you're at UMass.

1. Now this may be obvious, but eating healthy is beneficial for your energy levels, boosting your immune system, and improving your overall health. This of course becomes a challenge when it's possible to survive off a strict diet of pizza and french fries, however there are a few choices you can make to improve your diet. The first would be to make sure you eat breakfast each morning. This may be difficult as your running out the door to make it to your 8 am class on time, but snacks like granola and bananas go along way in providing you energy for your morning, and preventing you from overeating later in the day. Another tip would be to try healthier alternatives to your favorite midnight snacks. Opt for veggie pizza on whole-wheat crust when you and your roommate decide to order in for the night, and keep some healthy, filling snacks in your fridge for those late night study sessions.

2. With such a beautiful recreation center on campus, it's easy to find motivation to exercise throughout the week. Our class schedules can all get a little crazy, but sneaking in a quick jog and ab-workout between your classes can help give you a mid-day energy boost of energy, and help you focus better later on when you're taking notes in lecture. Working out alone not your thing? Check out the Group Fitness Schedule, and find a class that will work best for you.

3. Get some sleep! I know that you just had to stay up all of Sunday night to watch the Breaking Bad finale twice in a row, make sure not to make it a habit to stay up all night! Sleep deprivation can lead to reduced brain function, fatigue, headaches and weight loss or gain. We need about 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and getting this amount will improve your overall health. If you don't get enough sleep at night, take an afternoon nap. Be careful with naps though, they shouldn't be longer than 45 minutes, or your body enters the REM cycle of sleep, and waking up in the middle of it will make you feel even more tired then you were before the nap!

4. Wash your hands and get a flu shot! Flu season is upon us, and it is of the utmost importance to maintain your healthy habits to keep from getting sick. Washing your hands with soap and warm water is one of the easiest ways to prevent the flu (you and your roommate will be grateful!) Also University Health Services offers flu clinics, both at UHS, and all over campus for their mobil flu clinic days! Check out the schedule here!

5. Last but certainly not least, I think it's most important to remember to keep your brain healthy too! College is an exciting experience, but it can get stressful. The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) on campus is located in Hills North, and can help students with a variety of issues through its multitude of services. A consultation appointment is always free, and from there your clinician will help you come up with your best options that will help you the most. This could include short-term services with CCPH, group therapy, or perhaps a recommendation for longer-term service with a provider in the Amherst community. There's no shame in reaching out to get the best help for your situation, and as their website says "We all need a little help along the way!" Take advantage of their help, and always remember that you, and your should always health come first.

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