There is a common misconception that to be healthy, you have to spend a fortune. Over the course of my studies at RGU, I have gained a wealth of simple and affordable tips to remain healthy at university. Here are my top seven tips for students on how to stay fit physically and mentally…
If you’re only going to take one tip away from this blog, make sure it’s this one! Meal prep has become the main reason as to why I’m able to keep a healthy diet. After a long day of studying, the last thing I want to do is cook a full meal. This usually means I make a ready meal, or I order a McDonalds. (When I was in first year, I had to walk past a McDonald’s to get to my accommodation, so I did this an embarrassing amount of times.)
I set aside 3 hours on a Sunday to make 5 dinners for the week and to clean up after.Rebecca Wheildon, RGU Student
Meal prepping means that you don’t have to think about cooking when you get home. Instead you just have to stick your prep box in the microwave to cook and you have a healthy meal ready to eat. I wouldn’t make 7 meals, especially at first, as your plans could change. This way you can be flexible without wasting food. There are lots of meal prep videos that you can watch on YouTube that take you through a step by step guide on how to cook and store your food.
Take advantage of the reduced section
Most supermarkets have a reduced section, this is where food that is close to their expiry date is marked at a discounted price to encourage people to buy it. When you go shopping, make sure to check that section. There can be really large discounts on meat or fish which can be frozen and saved for later.
Your freezer is now your best friend
Speaking of frozen food, remember to make the best use of your freezer! Frozen vegetables are a great and quick alternative to fresh vegetables. They still have just as many nutrients as they would if they were fresh, and they are quicker to prepare. Buying meat or fish in bulk, and then freezing them for later use will save you so much money in the long run. Frozen fruit for smoothies or snacks, is a great option as well.
Do exercise that you enjoy
There is no point in doing a physical activity that you loathe, as you’re not going to stick to it as an enjoyable and consistent routine. For example, I DESPISE running! I did cross country for two years and hated every second of it. I do things that I enjoy like swimming, weights, and aerobics. It keeps me consistently active, as I’m motivated to do them and make them a part of my routine. I also find that I get the most out of my workouts when I exercise with someone, so I either go to the gym or a workout class with a friend.
Thankfully, RGU Sport are offering free membership to students for the rest of semester! If you’re someone that has been thinking about going to the gym for a while, this is your chance.Rebecca Wheildon, RGU Student
If you’re not comfortable with going to the gym, walking is a great form of exercise that a lot of people overlook. I love listening to music and going for a long walk, so choose an activity that works for you and that you will enjoy.
Let your feelings out
University is filled with so many emotions such as homesickness, stress, anxiety, loneliness, etc. We usually think we have to manage it alone, but that’s not the case. It is vital that you let those feelings out instead of holding them in and letting them fester. It doesn’t matter how far along in university you are, it is completely normal to experience the aforementioned feelings at any stage in life. So it is crucial to find ways to manage them that work best for you. For example, I’m a family orientated person. So every time I move out, I have a feeling of homesickness for a few days. In first year, this was really hard for me to deal with. But I learnt that the best thing to do for me is to distract myself by being around my friends.
RGU also has a variety of support services to promote mental health wellbeing among students. You will be able to find someone who understands what you’re going through. So talk to friends, family, counsellors, lecturers, and anyone you feel comfortable talking to.Rebecca Wheildon, RGU Student
Separation between your workspace and your relaxation area
Having a clear divide between work and play is so important, especially during exam times. I try to study out of my room as much as I can. That way I can come back to my room and know that this is the time for relaxing and not working. I know that the pandemic at the moment is stopping people from working in coffee shops (this was my go-to for study sessions so I’m pretty annoyed about that). But checking the opening and closing times of the RGU library and using that as a study space would be beneficial. Don’t forget you will need to book a study space in advance!
If you don’t feel comfortable with going out, study in the kitchen or the living room. If you do study in your room, study at your desk. Studying in your bed is not only bad for your posture but it could affect your sleep as it becomes your workspace and not a place for rest. I know it’s comfy but, trust me, you will get a much better night’s sleep for it!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
It’s important to stay healthy and it’s perfectly okay to allow yourself have a cheat meal once in a while. If you’re too busy with working or studying and you don’t have time to go to the gym that week, that’s okay. There needs to be a balance, but sometimes that balance will tip over to one side. What’s important is trying to get that balance back later on.
Being at University comes with a lot of external pressure as it is. So don’t put any extra pressure on yourself.Rebecaa Wheildon, RGU Student
I hope you enjoyed reading about my 7 top tips for staying healthy at university. If you have any further questions about the topics raised or any other related topics, feel free to message me through Contact a Student and I will respond as soon as I can.
Written by Rebecca Wheildon