Whether you’re enrolling in classes in your home town, heading out of state for college, or you’re an international student going to a university in a different country, transitioning to college life is a big change for everyone. Of course, different students face different challenges. For example, college students who live in dorms deal with different problems than students who live off campus. As a college student you want to excel in your classes and develop lasting friendships, but you should also prioritize your health. Here are ten health tips for college students living in dorms.
For many new college students dorm life is the first experience of being in complete control of the foods they eat. As a result, a dorm diet typically looks like greasy cafeteria food, late-night pizza deliveries, salty snacks, and sugary beverages – and usually in large portions.
Of course, many students living in dorms may want to eat healthy foods, but they find it difficult. Eating a healthy diet while living in a dorm is one of the biggest concerns for many college students. They don’t keep fresh produce stocked in the vending machines, after all, and cooking in a dorm room is difficult to say the least.
Make a conscious effort to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables in a mini refrigerator in your dorm room, and look for healthy food options in the cafeteria.
Drugs and alcohol
Alcohol consumption is common in college. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost a third of college students reported binge drinking. Many also experiment 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 relatively new problem is the abuse of prescription drugs. Some students use medicinal drugs to assist them in studying or staying up to complete projects that the last minute. Misuse of prescription drugs is as dangerous as the use of other drugs.
Being around large numbers of people – especially when those people are from different parts of the state, country, or world – promotes the spread of illnesses. It’s crucial to practice good hygiene, and necessary to receive the correct immunizations.
Consider vaccinating against the flu during flu season.
You need sleep to stay healthy. Dorm socializing, homework, noisy neighbors, and night owl roommates often make it difficult for students living in dorms to get all the sleep that they need.
Try to establish a regular bedtime that allows you to get the 7-9 hours of sleep you need each night.
Grades, tests, relationships, expectations, pressure, new experiences – there’s a lot about college that can affect on your mental health. Recognize when anxiety, depression, stress, or other mental health issues start interfering with your well being.
Avoid unhealthy ways of coping with stress or depression such as smoking or eating. Consider visiting with a counselor or medical professional for help with mental health issues.
Keeping your living space clean is important in maintaining good health. Wash dishes, clean sheets and pillow cases, and take out the trash regularly to keep mold and bacteria from forming and to prevent illness. Keep laundry from piling up for too long as clothing could grow mold or mildew.
Dusting may never be part of your dorm routine, but dust can affect students with allergies. You can probably borrow a vacuum occasionally if you find yourself suffering from allergies.
Maybe you wake up late for class… for an entire week. Don’t let it get to the point where you have to think about the answer when someone asks when you last showered. Make a habit of taking care of basic hygiene everyday.
Also be sure to wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s surprising how many people touch door knobs and library computer keyboards.
Physical activity is important to your health as well. Make sure that you stay active by walking to classes and riding your bicycle around town, or visit the gym on campus.
The University of Arkansas Fayetteville has excellent gym facilities, and Northwest Arkansas is a great place for outdoor sports. Make it a habit to get thirty minutes or more of movement every day.
Develop good healthy habits, and avoid unhealthy habits. The sooner you adopt healthy habits, the easier it is to get them to stick, and the better it is for your health in the long term.
Visit the doctor
Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is a great habit. Many people make the mistake of only seeing the doctor when something is wrong. A primary care physician can help you maintain good health, which can help keep health problems from occurring.