Health and wellness after the New Year hype

man lifting dumbells back view
Archive / Highlander

With the New Year’s hype dying down, it’s getting harder and harder now to stick to resolutions; whether the promise was to eat better, workout more or set a sleeping schedule, it’s likely gotten more difficult two months after the New Year began. As time passes, school and life will begin to hinder your progress toward certain goals. It can feel impossible to find time or motivation to work out and eat healthy, but there are ways to navigate around those mental barriers.

If motivation to work out eludes you, try inviting some friends to tag along. Making plans with others keeps you accountable and establishes an incentive to go for at least a little while. Be sure to invite multiple people in case one friend can’t make it. If you and your friends are too shy to work out in front of each other, make a playlist and have everyone bring their own devices to listen to it, that way you are all still connected while everyone gets things done. 

If you are the type that prefers to work out alone, or are strapped for time with other things, try multitasking; classroom readings can be handled with an audio version that plays while you work out. Then you’ll be able to flex your muscles and your mind!

Be sure to orient yourself with all of the resources at the SRC; there’s more to the place than work out machines. The multipurpose rooms are excellent for working out away from other gymgoers, and can be used for several forms of exercise such as yoga, dance, training and much more. If you don’t know all of the available resources, head over to the front desks at either entrance and ask for a pamphlet. There are also free massages several times a month, nap pods, hydra-massage machines, ping pong tables, boxing equipment, rock climbing walls, racquetball rooms and so much more; all of this is available for anyone who asks. 

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Being healthy and sticking to your resolutions isn’t just about working out though; meal prep can be just as essential. The weekends are a great opportunity to prepare healthy meals for the week so that when you get home you can simply heat up a well-made and healthy meal, which is much better for you than getting fast food near campus. While it can be difficult to find time to eat, stores like Trader Joe’s, Clark’s and Goodwin’s all have excellent options for quick, easy-to-make and healthy food. If you have five minutes between classes and need something that’s quick and filling, a great option is any of the lunch selections from Clark’s and if you have any questions about healthy choices, the staff are all knowledgeable and very ready to help.

If you have a sweet tooth as so many do, consider baking your own sweets during the weekend and eating them during the week. Experimenting and finding healthy recipes can help you make delicious food such as cupcakes, cookies, brownies or cake; you might even be able to make healthier versions of them with research and practice. If you try cooking and baking for yourself at least once a week, you just might find a love for cooking that helps you eat healthier, which in turn will give you more energy for studying and being active. 

All of this, however, is not as vital to your health as one very simple thing: sleep. As college students we all share the agony of sleep deprivation, but the most important thing you can do for your health is finding sleep wherever you can. There are many places on campus where you can catch some sleep between classes: the nap pods at the SRC, the student lounge couches and in the quiet of the libraries.

It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep at night, but if you have the time then try separating yourself from any devices that can potentially prevent you from sleeping. You can try reading a novel, listening to something peaceful like ASMR or binaural beats, writing a journal about your day or even watching Netflix. The point is to do things that will help you relax so that your body settles down, tiring you out so that your mind follows suit.
Aside from all of this, an important part of mental health is to take breaks when needed. There are so many places on campus where you can sit and simply take a deep breath if you need to ground yourself. Don’t be afraid to get away from everything for a few moments. To help you escape for a bit, try exploring different areas on campus and you may find little quiet spots you never knew about. The Botanical Gardens are a great start, full of little sectioned areas for specific plants and all-around a quiet place. Try going on an adventure when you need a break, even if the treasure at the end is only some peace of mind.

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