One of the greatest things about studying and living away from home is that this will, most often, be your first real taste of freedom and looking after yourself. Staying in apartments like The Fields can therefore be a brand new experience, with a lot of different temptations and attractions on your time. Meanwhile, back home, parents, friends and family may be worried that you are not looking after yourself properly, or that you will not have them around to care for you when you get sick. And according to studies, they are right to be concerned.
According to a recent study conducted by Northwestern University, 95 percent of college students fail to eat the necessary amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diets, while numerous other universities have reported vitamin C deficiencies so dire they have incidences of scurvy. While we aren’t saying you would be silly enough to treat yourself so badly you get a 1600s sailor disease, we are saying that you should read, and try to stick to these few tips for staying healthy while studying away from home.
We know this makes us sound like your mom, but sometimes you are going to have to eat your fruits and vegetables. This isn’t about giving up all those late night takeaways entirely, or not having a drink or two when you go to a party, but more about being mindful that your body needs the vitamins in healthy food to keep functioning optimally. When your day starts with classes, progresses to clubs, societies, sports and then out partying, you need your body to be capable of dealing with all the things you are throwing at it.
Stocking up on healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits and yoghurts will ensure you are always putting some good things inside your body each day. Ideally though, you will want to cook a proper, healthy meal every now and then and load up on the vegetables. The good news is that at The Fields all apartments come with a private kitchen that includes an oven and space for a fridge and microwave so you will have the ability to cook and eat the foods you need.
On top of eating healthy meals, you should always remember to drink lots of water. Water is an essential ingredient to feeling well, and staying alert and as an added bonus, will even help you feel fresher the day after a big party.
As a first year the temptation is to rush from event to event and class to class, saying yes to every opportunity and not worrying too much about what’s happening at home. Somewhere in the middle of this it can be easy to neglect simple chores like taking a shower, cleaning your room or making your bed.
While most people can find time to have a shower, and properly wash themselves, it is also absolutely essential that you wash your bed linens and wipe down the keyboards and surfaces in your room. You should also be throwing away all rubbish and doing the dishes if you want to stay free from illness and keep yourself in top condition.
Once a week you are going to want to take your clothes and bed linens to The Wash Bar at The Fields, even if you are feeling under pressure. Apart from keeping you smelling decent, you will find your mood and mental health is noticeably better when you are clean and sleeping with freshly washed bedding.
Drinking too much alcohol is a common occurrence when studying, particularly in first year. According to the American National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost a third of all university students reported binge drinking and a high percentage also reported experimenting with recreational drug use. The use of drugs and alcohol is, of course, bad for your health and can lead to problems with substance abuse.
A less obvious problem is the abuse of prescription drugs. Some students take these drugs to help them stay awake, or study for longer, but their long-term use can be just as harmful as any illegal narcotic.
We aren’t here to tell you never to have a drink but are rather saying that you should take very careful note of just what you are ingesting and when and take care to keep your alcohol use in moderation. Apart from being bad for your body in the long term, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to injuries and is definitely going to affect your ability to pass your courses as you struggle the day after to concentrate or meet deadlines.
Getting enough exercise is going to be critical if you aim to make it through the year with your health intact. Exercising has a number of known benefits including controlling your weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of diabetes, and giving you increased energy.
Apart from the physical benefits, according to an article by Walden University, exercise is a proven mental health booster as well. “From easing symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your memory sharp, there’s no shortage of mental benefits of exercise,” says Dr. Shawna Charles.
While universities always offer plenty of opportunities to join sports clubs and get exercise that way, you don’t absolutely have to be part of one to get your necessary dose of endorphins. Simply walking to your classes, or back and forth to the grocery store, or choosing to climb stairs instead of taking the elevator can make a long-term difference in how good you feel. All you need is 30 minutes of proper movement every day to ensure you remain at your best health levels.
While humans don’t yet understand all the functions of sleep, we do know that it is absolutely critical to good health. Despite this, Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, has found that university students are one of the most sleep-deprived segments of the population. Only 11-percent of university students report that they sleep well consistently.
To combat this, try to establish a regular sleep pattern, ensuring you are in bed and waking up at the same time every day, even if that’s just during the week. The increased mental acuity will definitely help when it comes time for exams and your body will thank you too. See our blog on how to get a good night’s rest, for more tips.
With secure, well-appointed apartments, a chill area and a Virgin active gym just around the corner The Fields is perfectly suited to helping you stay healthy while living your best life on campus. At the end of the day, you are at university to succeed and set up the rest of your life, and managing to stay fit and healthy will definitely aid you in achieving those goals. Do you want to come live at The Fields or Howzit Hilda? We are running a promotion – JOIN THE FIELDS TODAY – where new tenants can win an electricity voucher worth R500. If you are an existing resident, you can also win by referring a friend who signs a new lease.
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