How to juggle the start of new classes and keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions.
Welcome, 2019! And to 2018: goodbye and good riddance! Time to get our heads screwed on tight. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I always ring in the new year with some (overly?) ambitious resolutions to help make me into who I want to be. I’m buckling down on making myself successful and happy. At this point in my life, what I do and how I react to situations is #mychoice. What choices will you make this year?
I spend most of my free-time focusing on how to better myself, whether that means I set my mind to working on my financial, emotional or physical health, or all three.
Of course everyone’s first New Year’s resolutions are to start treating their body better, right? As a college student, eating well, getting enough sleep and living out the #collegelifestyle is easier said than done. I’m sure I’m not the only student that has trouble eating well in dining halls on campus. My post on eating healthy on campus has specific tips to assist those that have trouble with finding the better options, but here’s the abridged version:
1. Skip sugary fountain drinks and opt for water first!
It’s okay to have a glass of lemonade or coke every once in a while, but try to get your fill with the healthier option during meals.
2. Eat 3-5 square meals a day.
This one is more difficult, especially if your university offers unlimited meal plans like mine does. Focus on a more standard breakfast, lunch and dinner if your schedule allows it and train yourself to not confuse snacks with meals.
3. Remember to eat!
On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s easy to skip meals on busy days. Make time to sit down and have a meal rather than snack all day. I find myself only sitting down to eat once or twice a day sometimes, and contrary to popular belief, less meals = weight gain! Don’t fall into traps of self-starvation! Eat your food.
4. Find the healthy options.
I fell victim to this as I’m sure many others have. The fattening, quick foods high in sugar, sodium, and #badoils are readily available and on the first floor of the dining halls on campus. As hungry as you might be, and despite your cravings for cheese fries, walk around and look for the better options upstairs. Soups, salad bars, and hoagie/wrap stations offer healthier alternatives. Even the hot bar has veggies every day. Make what you put in your body a priority.
I always have issues with my body. My weight fluctuates weekly or monthly, and let me tell you: despite what some may think, your weight is not entirely dependent on your activity level. That being said, of course living a sedentary lifestyle will contribute to weight gain and copious other negative effects on both mental and physical health. Here’s some easy ways to combat laziness traps:
1. Walk to class.
This is definitely easier said than done. My campus offers free shuttle services and it is so easy to come up with excuses to take the easy way. KU has a hilly campus and these past few months have been especially brisk, windy, chilly, rainy, you get the gist. However, there’s extensive research supporting walking more, specifically in the morning. It’s a great way to get a jump on the day.
2. Utilize on-campus gyms and fitness centers.
Simple. Find out if your university offers free classes or open gym hours on campus. It’s free! Having a free gym has motivated me to go, even though I’m not the type of person that especially enjoys working out around other people. If you’re like me, scope out the gym for a few weeks and find when the least number of people tend to come by. For me, the best time to go is around 10am-1pm, as many students are at class around then. Moving on!
3. Develop a routine!
As important as exercise is, keeping your body from getting stressed out is just as important. Keep a regular sleep schedule. If you find yourself oversleeping and rushing to get to class every day, chances are you’re getting to sleep too late. Take naps if you have to! Whatever it takes to keep your body regularly functioning without too much assistance from caffeine, (or other substances) do it! Financial Comfort
This is a big one. If going to the on-campus Starbucks for all your meals wasn’t the most convenient and familiar option, it’d go out of business. But, and I’m sure others can agree with me on this, my monthly budget on non-essentials is practically non-existent. School is expensive, boo.
1. Eat at the dining halls!
This one is a huge deal. Many universities require first-years and/or on-campus residents to have a meal plan. If this is not the case for you, disregard! But if it is, I have news for you. You are required to pre-pay for more food than you are going to eat. So why spend money on even more food? Sure, it probably will taste better to eat at your favorite pizza place down the street. There might be better options or food that will meet your specific cravings. But it is beyond a waste of money to eat out if you’re required to have a meal plan. The end.
2. Find a job.
This is, again, easier said than done. Finding off-campus employment in a college town was next to impossible for me. Luckily enough, after weeks of searching, I was able to score part-time at a local pizza shop. But even then, so many students were employed there that we each only get about 3-6 hours of work every week, making minimum wage. But many on-campus organizations and systems need student help! Find out if your university’s dining, mail, or housing services are hiring!
3. Take it easy on recreational… substances.
This is not me bashing anyone’s definition of the #collegelifestyle (because I’m not going to pretend I don’t drink or smoke). But it’s hard to deny that drinking and smoking regularly does add up. Prices for nicotine products are skyrocketing with the popularization of JUULs and vapes, the cost of bud and carts are dependent on the dealer unless you grow your own, and it’s easy to drink too much when pre-gaming for parties. If you’re having budget issues, maybe don’t prioritize these activities over, say, having enough food for the week. Just a thought.
4. Save more than you spend.
Try to save at least half of each paycheck, if not more, and save up for fun trips with friends or to treat yourself at another time! If you’re planning on finding an off-campus apartment, saving money beforehand is key!
In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of well-being that we can pay attention to. On a serious note, keeping track on keeping yourself happy, clear-headed and stable is one of the most adult things you can do in a changing environment. These are my goals for this year:
1. Fight against emotional mental illnesses and personality disorders.
As someone who has been living with diagnosed bipolar disorder for some time now, I fully understand how hard it is to combat and normalize fluctuating energy levels, especially in the winter months. But I firmly believe in the ability to make my decisions and reactions #mychoice. Have a lack of energy? Invite friends over. It seems like it’s against your best interest at the time, but it’s hard to feel unmotivated when you’re outside having a snowball fight at 2am. Trust me. It helps. Feeling manic (not to be confused with happy)? Go for a run. Take a cold shower. Find your coping mechanisms and stick to them.
When you journal your thoughts, they’re not running through your head. Try this when you’re feeling overly anxious or emotionally unstable. Another option is to journal every day to recognize patterns in your emotions and behavior. This helps to prevent mood swings!
3. Explore yoga and meditation!
Yoga is easy to teach to yourself, as many instructional videos are readily available on YouTube, Pinterest, and workout sites. Many yoga studios offer cheap classes and meditation training as well! It’s an easy and efficient way to both prepare yourself for a big day and to wind down after.
Have a great new semester! Have any suggestions? Comment below!