As winter begins to set in, and the holidays roll around, it is more important than ever for college students to pay close attention to their health.
Between extra breaks from school, huge family meals and a possible penchant to be less active during the colder months, there are reasons aplenty to let yourself go. But if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, taking greater care during these times is essential.
Advice for staying healthy throughout the holidays and winter
There are a number of things you can do to stay health conscious during the winter. If you follow some of these easy tips, you will find yourself in tip-top shape when spring comes back around.
- Drink a lot of water.1 When it’s hot out, and you’re more prone to sweat, quenching your thirst with water is almost second nature. But when you start spending more time indoors, and you don’t feel as much need to replenish your fluids, you still have to make a concerted effort to drink as much water as you can.
- Be conscious of portion size.2 Let’s face it, you’re probably going to overindulge at those holiday dinners. But don’t let that notion of portion size carry over into the rest of your meals.
- Drink responsibly. During the holidays, overindulgence doesn’t just include food. Alcohol consumption goes up as well. Not only are many alcoholic beverages high in calories, but they can lead to too many late-night snacks. That makes moderating your alcohol intake even more important during the holidays.
- Don’t fight stress by overeating. The holidays and the onset of winter also usually mean it’s time for finals. Students who have to balance schoolwork with a job and family responsibilities are even more prone to stress, and high-fat comfort foods are often used as a curative. No matter how hard your dental assisting program, medical billing and coding training or any other area of study may be, don’t resort to overeating as a way to deal with it. Instead, try working out or taking more breaks.
- Enjoy yourself. At the same time, the holiday season is one where you should feel free to let yourself enjoy the sometimes unhealthy foods that are traditionally served at celebratory meals. Be health conscious, just don’t let it ruin your enjoyment of all that the holidays have to offer.
- Work out. This one is simple, but colder weather often forces people indoors. So find your self-discipline and make your way to the gym to work off those extra holiday pounds.
1 McMullen, Laura, “Nutrition Tips for College Students,” U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/slideshows/nutrition-tips-for-college-student
2“101 Health and Wellness Tips for College Students,” Rutgers University Student Health Services. http://healthservices.camden.rutgers.edu/topics_wellness