Now that you’re in college, nobody’s going to be there to tell you when to go to bed, when to get up or what meals you should have.
College is exciting but with all the freedom of structuring your own lifestyle, coupled with classes, assignments and exam stress, you tend to forget to look after your own health.
But did you know that your well-being can actually dictate your grades?
Here are some of the most common pitfalls and unhealthy habits that plague college students, and some practical tips on how you can avoid them.
1) Cut Down on Mamak Food
We know you just LOVE the mamak. It’s cheap, yummy and fast! What’s not to love?
Well, the amount of calories, for one!
Food at most mamaks tend to be oily and high in calories. Mee goreng? That’s 660 calories, equivalent to 2.5 cups of rice. Add on a nice, icy cold teh ais? That’s 6 teaspoons of sugar, about 60% of your ENTIRE day’s recommended intake of sugar. It’s no wonder Malaysia is South East Asia’s fattest country!
Prolonged bad eating habits and an unbalanced diet can affect your immune system and decrease energy levels and focus, impacting your productivity and grades.
Go easy on your mamak sessions, and make a conscious effort to add in vegetables and fruits to your diet on a daily basis. Your body (and waistline) will thank you!
2) Avoid Pulling All-Nighters
Did you know — studies show that the effect of insufficient sleep is the same as being drunk.
Yes, that’s right. Even though you may think you’re perfectly functional, going to college sleep-deprived is pretty much like turning up drunk. This is because sleep deprivation causes bad judgement and slows down your ability to think and respond.
Pulling all-nighters to study for an exam, and staying out until the wee hours of the morning partying, is almost inevitable during college life, but make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
Sleep helps your mind rejuvenate and organise all the knowledge that you’ve learned during the day, so make sure you have proper sleeping habits!
3) Don’t Forget to Exercise
Exercise isn’t just for you to look good in the mirror — it also helps to increase your brain’s ability to learn and adapt to change.
But we know. Fitting exercise into your busy college schedule that’s jam-packed with lectures, assignments and group projects is not easy. But it really isn’t that difficult.
One of the easiest ways to fit some physical activity into your daily routine is to take the stairs instead of the lift. If you take the bus, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. If you drive, park your car slightly further away from college.
Try taking part in one of the many sports clubs that your college has to offer too. That way, you get to break out a sweat and make new friends at the same time!
4) Lay Off the Energy Drinks
Energy drinks can be a quick fix for pulling all-nighters during exams, but it is harmful to the body in the long run. The amount of sugar and caffeine that are in these beverages are in large doses and can cause you to have a sugar crash. These usually come in the form of headaches, palpitations and tremors.
It may seem like the perfect beverage to binge on when you’re low on energy, but there are plenty of healthier options out there. Switch out those caffeinated beverages for healthier options, such as green tea, protein bars or even fruits for a better source of energy!
5) Always Remember to Relax
As important it is to study hard and finish your assignments, it is just as important to relax.
Stress can cause numerous problems to the brain. It doesn’t just affect your ability to learn and memorise, but it can also cause anxiety and depression.
Make sure you take regular breaks between study sessions to help your mind retain and recall information better. Take a short stroll, watch some YouTube videos or have a chat with your study buddies. If the work and pressure gets too overwhelming, talk to someone, whether it’s an old friend, a senior or a college counsellor.
Staying healthy may not seem like an obvious step to getting good grades, but it directly affects your mental health to cope with the stress of exams and assignments. Remember that good health is a precursor to a strong and healthy mind.
It’s not always easy to follow these steps while in college, but these habits will go a long way. By practicing these habits now, you’ll have an easier time managing your health during adulthood!