More than Ramen Noodles and All-Nighters: Keys to Wellness in College

Transylvania alum, Maggie Heaberlin

In my four years at Transylvania University, I experienced many levels of wellness – from those times when I had to stay in bed all day to those times when I ran farther or lifted more than I ever thought I could.

However, wellness encompasses more than your state of physical fitness. It involves your emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual health as well, along with several other categories. Wellness encompasses your whole being, so don’t ignore any one part of your overall wellness!

Here’s a few tips I picked up over the past four years of my undergraduate career, along with several links that speak more to certain issues!

  • Take the longer path to class. This gives you a little more exercise (that adds up over time) and gives you some much needed Vitamin-D exposure.
  • Speaking of Vitamin D…Wear sunscreen! You absorb more than enough light energy to synthesize your daily recommended value of Vitamin D in just a few minutes of sun exposure. Get what you need and protect yourself at the same time! Make sunscreen a daily routine if you spend lots of time outside. Ladies, many makeup products and moisturizers have built-in SPF!
  • As recent graduate Danny Woolums says, Be social. “Talk to people and make new friends. The amount of stress that can come by closing oneself off can be more than it’s worth.”
  • Know your resources. There are many resources available to you both on and off campus. Laina Smith, our Campus Nurse, is an amazing resource and is always willing to talk to you about any concerns you have (and you’ll get acquainted with her plethora of pink flamingoes)! We also have certified counselors available for students and a nutritionist for when you need advice about a healthy diet!

Current student Caroline Miller knows her resources: “Get nonfat milk in Jazzman’s drinks! And go to group fitness classes because they’re fun ways to work out!”

  • Invest in produce from the Lexington Farmer’s Market. Support local farmers and get really healthy food at the same time!
  • Find your Routine. This applies to sleeping patterns, study patterns, how you plan your meals, etc. If you designate Sunday for a sleep-in day, stick to it! If you decide to only eat on the Fried Side of the Rafskeller once a week, stick to it! You’ll be surprised at the comfort and health benefits you can find in such routines.

Current student Sara Williamson agrees: don’t overeat in the cafeteria, and don’t spend all your meal points on French fries! Rather, let them be a special treat once or twice a week.

  • Wear Flipflops, and all that healthy jazz. You’ve all heard that you should wear flip flops in the community bathrooms at college. Do it. Seriously, invest in a cheap pair of flip flops and designate them to be your shower shoes. It feels silly at first, but it beats getting sick! Dorm buildings are notorious for spreading germs (and fungi like Athlete’s Foot) no matter how clean you keep your own room! Be safe! Get the required vaccinations, wash your hands, and…
  • Above All: Know Your Body! If you feel out of whack, you probably are. The more aware you are of yourself, the more likely you’ll be able to fix whatever’s wrong! This includes knowing how you respond to inadequate sleep, seasonal allergies, and stress.
  • Be ACTIVE. We won’t use the “E-word” for physical activity, but being consistently physically active will be the best decision you will make in your daily life in college. You’ll have more energy, a stress relieving activity, a social activity, and a way to maintain your level of physical fitness that is fun for you. You decide the method, just keep moving!
  • SLEEP.I promise, you will regret all those naps you refused to take as a child. Sleep as much as it takes to remain healthy and active (at least 7-8 hours per night, not including naps). You’ll get sick less often, your mind will be better prepared for class and studying, and your mind will have more time to download and process the information from the day!

As far as living well in college, it’s up to you. Only you can make the decision as to how you’re going to live. Make good decisions, stay active, and sleep!

Check out these links!:

– Maggie Heaberlin, ’12