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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

It is 8 a.m., and you barely slept a wink last night because you were up writing a paper, studying for an exam or perhaps playing Fortnite. Whatever the case, you have to muster up energy to get to that 8:30 a.m. class with barely any time to chug your coffee. Your stress levels have been at an all-time high, and you wish you could just have 10 minutes to breathe. The college life may be busy, but self care is critical for staying on track. Here are 10 ways to practice physical and mental health care in college.

Sleep! Sounds impossible, right? Although we are young and capable of just about anything, our bodies need rest and recovery in order to perform the tasks we expect to do. Getting those eight hours of sleep does wonders for your mental and physical health. Even with a busy schedule, don’t forget to recharge.

Drink water. Hydration is key! Drinking a lot of water detoxes our bodies by getting rid of all of the bad substances we consume. Water helps your skin, energy and focus, and frankly, we kind of need it to live. If you find that getting enough water is a struggle, get a water bottle and fill up!

Eat right. Like drinking water, putting the best nutrients into your body gives you more physical energy and provides you with more brain power! I know it is tempting (and frankly, just really easy) to grab a snack from Starbucks or Au Bon Pain, but this will only provide you with energy for a short period of time. Try incorporating fruits and vegetables when you can for more focus and energy.

Get physical! Whether it be a walk around the block, a HIIT class at Southwest Recreation Center or lifting weights in your room, it is so important to stay active. Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day gives you that extra boost of energy and positivity you need. Find workouts that inspire and challenge you. There’s no right way to get active.

Keep a well-organized planner. Find a planner that will help keep you organized and ahead of the game in all of your classes, clubs, activities and personal time. Even if you need to schedule everything to the T, do what works for you. Trial and error is inevitable. Keep at it.

Set daily rewards. Schedule in time to reward yourself for completing your daily tasks, and you will be more motivated to get those things done. Whether it be watching an hour of Netflix, meditating, going out or just grabbing pizza with your friends, spend quality time every day doing something just for you.

Keep a journal. Having some sort of outlet for your thoughts and feelings is extremely important. This is also a great way to look back. Be proud of progress, and learn about yourself.

Go outside. Step outside and breathe some fresh air! Take a bike ride to Lake Alice one morning and watch the sunrise, or sit on the Plaza of the Americas and read a good book. Find time to soak up some vitamin D and escape from Marston Science Library’s horrid fluorescent lighting.

Spend quality time with the ones you love. It sounds cliche, but seriously, take advantage of your free time with family and friends. Call your parents, have them visit or just hang out with your close group of friends. Make time for the important people in your life! Find people to lean on every once in awhile.

Ask for help. Life is hard, but you aren’t alone. If you are struggling and overwhelmed, it can be hard to take steps to help yourself. Talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to seek help. UF offers options that are built into tuition. Find your nearest GatorWell office or make a call to the Counseling & Wellness Center at 352-392-1575 to set up an appointment. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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