Lifestyles of the broke and the busy: How to stay healthy in college

 

It’s Saturday morning. The sun’s rays peek through my curtains. I thrash my body, arms flailing toward the cup of water I so kindly left out for myself, and refuse to open my eyes to face the hangover that inevitably awaits me when I finally admit I am awake. It’s a routine many college students know to be true, the hangover from the bars last night, or something that feels astonishingly similar after a night filled with too few hours of sleep and more than enough flash cards. Even when we are feeling okay, the shadow of maintaining academic success while managing a social life and perhaps a job or an internship rests heavily upon our shoulders. Being healthy is an optimistic goal when pizza, beer and Netflix feel like a hug from your mom after a long day. And most of the time, cheap drinks and late night Domino’s trump that free yoga class you said you would go to (after all, it’s probably too crowded anyway). Pulling off looking like a stable human being requires effort when you are alternating between studying and writing a paper, but thanks to the gurus of the Internet and some College of Charleston students, staying sane and healthy might actually be achievable.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and for me, running and yoga have become my daily outlet. I get to see the sun and I sweat from real exercise rather than from running up the Bell South stairs to get to class on time. It is undeniable that at the end of a workout you are elevated and prepared to take on the next task, regardless of how intense exercising can sometimes feel. For some people, running may seem like an unnecessary and pointless pursuit but luckily, opportunities to try out a new workout routine are plentiful.

 

Surfers hit the waves at one of the many local beaches in the Charleston area. Surfing can be a great way to exercise as well as a lot of fun. (Photo courtesy of Foster West)

 

 

 

You don’t have to look farther than the Silcox Gym if playing team sports is your idea of a good time. College of Charleston senior Joe Owayda suggests attending an Open Net Night (choose from Badminton, Soccer, Volleyball or Racquet Sports) or joining an intramural team. If you don’t see yourself in either of those situations, the multitude of clubs and organizations on campus offer a variety of other options. Check out the Water Sports club and find out why wakeboarding is such a beloved pastime of so many students at the College. Lest I forget to highlight that we live so close to the beach, heed the advice of sophomore Jackson Foster and venture to Folly for stress relieving surf sessions. If you shy away from water and thrive on land, the Outdoors Club hosts activities of every nature, from hikes to camping trips. There are plenty of chances to meet new people and spend some time outside of the library or away from your computer screen.

Fortunately, health encompasses more than our physical well-being. Keeping your body moving and grooving is just one aspect of what it means to “be healthy.” Our brains are constantly bombarded with a myriad of information and yet we still manage to recall equations and quotations. But it is when we are frantically rewriting vocab terms at 3:00 a.m. that we need to remember to give our brains and bodies a break. That is why seniors Kelsey Tigner and Emily Davidson suggest that maintaining a regular and healthy sleep schedule is fundamental to being a successful student. It is also no debate in the world of science that getting consistent nights of good rest makes our brains happier and smarter. So make sleep your best friend and do not forget about power naps, either.

In addition to spending quality amounts of time with your eyes closed, nourishing your body with healthy and whole foods is a sure way to keep yourself fueled and focused during the day. While buying organic and fresh groceries may seem inconvenient or expensive, the Veggie Bin on Spring St. offers local fruits and vegetables at an affordable price. Junior Makenna Coon likes to bring a reusable water bottle with her everywhere so she can remember to stay hydrated as drinking an adequate amount of water contributes to your body’s functionality.

Making healthy choices about your body can be simple when you take the time to do so, but it is also important to remember that we must take actions to maintain our mental health. Being stressed out, anxious and overwhelmed can result in some serious consequences if we do not address the issues. There have been times that I have fallen into a black hole of stress where the walls are made of all the readings I put aside, and while your black hole may take on a different appearance, some stress relieving techniques can help you avoid that miserable place. Junior Britton Holmes said that she likes to call her mom, or someone who can put everything into perspective, to remind her that she is capable of handling her workload and that no matter what, it is not the end of the world. Talking it out or talking about anything else can also be helpful in aligning your priorities and serve as a reminder that you are capable of forming intelligent thoughts outside of school. Something that senior Ben Thompson finds helpful is having engaging conversations with friends and strangers. But occasionally forming comprehensive and complete sentences is arduous when you are already at your last straw, so if you find yourself there, take junior Bo Stephenson’s advice and read a book to get lost in a different world, era or just someone else’s head.

One of the most efficient and helpful ways to deal with stress that many students described as crucial to their sanity focusing on breathing. Simply stop all your thoughts and for a few minutes and just breathe; it is surprising how refreshed and motivated you feel after taking a break from everything. Taking a break – no matter how long or short – to do something you love is a great way to remind yourself that you are awesome. Junior Gared Glavin does one thing every day that is not related to school in the slightest. For him, that takes shape in skateboarding, surfing and wakeboarding, but for you it might be art or music. Regardless, find your passion and go do that thing.

 

Skateboarding through the ins and outs of Charleston is not only a great way to explore the city, but a good excuse to get some fresh air and exercise. Just be careful on those bumpy Charleston sidewalks. (Photo courtesy of Foster West)

 

 

Being healthy is hard work, mostly because doing the opposite is always easier and sometimes more fun. I have read countless online articles about “x” number of things to do to be healthy and I almost always forget to incorporate their advice into my life. Hopefully, these words of wisdom from your peers will serve as an opportunity for you to form your own healthy lifestyle. One final tip of advice coming to you from senior Kearsley Schweller is to take your goals and break them up into many small goals so that you are constantly succeeding. For these small achievements, pizza, Netflix and cheap drinks are always an appropriate award.

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