I present you all with the constant problem us uni students face each and every day:
Our busy selves glare at the chocolate when all of a sudden it transforms into Pitbull singing 'I know you want me'. Yet, when we look over at the apple, its song lyrics go something like 'stay with me, cos I’m all you neeeeed', Sam Smith style. Or is this just me?
Nonetheless, because keeping healthy while really busy is challenging, I have put together eight tips to help maintain healthy habits and wellbeing during a full-on uni schedule:
Take the time to plan what meals you will have during busy periods so that you can stock up your pantry and fridge with as many supplies as possible. Not having to do a last-minute grocery shop and knowing in advance what meals you’ll have each day helps prevent you reverting to bad habits. No more impulse take-away dinners!
While planning in advance, stock up with healthy snacks that you can take with you to uni/work or that can sit beside your computer while you study. The snacks on my list include yoghurt, pieces of fruit, nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars, crackers and low fat dip. This is the only way I have learnt to overcome the chocolate versus apple debate, otherwise it’s so easy to let the chocolate win you over for a sugar hit!
P.S. I have found having no chocolate in the house helps!
Being a uni student often means sitting at the computer for hours on end during busy periods and little things like sipping water are quickly forgotten! I have now learnt to have a water bottle beside my computer at all times to keep hydration top of mind. This is one of the most important elements of staying healthy and it won’t cost you a cent (unless you need a new water bottle) to up you water intake.
Talking from experience during busy times, exercise becomes something we just “don’t have time” for. While it’s easy to pass up, nothing really compares to that post-workout high after even just 30 minutes of simple exercise. Whether it is a walk around the block, run on the treadmill while watching a lecture, Wii fit session, or whatever else you would prefer, JUST DO IT!
When it comes to sacrificing sleep for late night study, I am as guilty as they come. For some reason, I become a night owl with the idea that staying up late will induce productive work, though the only outcome of this decision is the awesome greeting when opening your Word document that says 'pick up where you left off six hours ago (3.30am)'. Remember, while study is a priority you still need to be able to function in all other areas of your life as well, so stick as closely as you possibly can to the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
If you find yourself constantly busy, put aside some time on weekends to prepare nutritious meals that can be frozen. That way, during the week, it is just a matter of defrost, heat and eat! And the bonus is, it’s healthy! When the cooking’s already done, there really is no excuse not to stick to your healthy habits.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. It is so easy to become tempted when out of the house to grab something naughty from the close-by cafeteria. This is avoided by taking your meals with you. P.S. Don’t forget the cutlery (advice from she who has done so)!
Try not to make extra work for yourself when life is busy and you’re starting to feel a little stressed. Although our world would be disadvantaged without “yes” people, sometimes we need to learn to say 'no'. Don’t overload yourself with things that can wait until the semester workload has died down. The last thing we want is to become sick at a time we can least afford to be!
They might be simple, but hopefully these eight tips will help you get on track to staying healthy and stay that way even when in the middle of a busy semester.
Maintain your motivation to stay healthy during semester by finding out the 4 healthy habits that can boost your study success, or check out these other great health and wellbeing resources.