Student life is renowned for being unhealthy. Those 2am bedtimes, the living off ramen, the downing of VKs, the watching of Netflix constantly. However, if you are going to university with this expectation in mind, then there is very little that anyone can do to change your mind. However a more fulfilling experience of university can come from an unlikely source such as regular bedtimes, homecooked meals and an exercise routine.
A regular bedtime
First, I will show how a regular bedtime will completely change your outlook. FOMO is something that frequently stops students from going to bed on time. Also having freedom can cause some students to go wild. But going to bed at a regular time each night can do wonders for your skin and your general mental health. However, what a lot of students don’t realise is that the hours you sleep actually don’t matter, you need hours before midnight, going to bed at 2am but then waking up at 10 might mean you have those 8 hours, but it doesn’t mean you will feel well rested.
Going to clubs 3 or 4 nights a week is just a drain on those sleep hours and on your bank account. I have emphasised this before, but moderation is key. I have found setting a regular alarm means I get into a routine every day.
Setting an alarm means I am able to do more activities during the day. And as it is getting closer to summer time now, that means I can go running again the morning. Waking up and getting ready to go means that when I get back, I am wide awake and ready to start my essays. I appreciate as a student myself that sometimes it is very difficult to get out of bed in the morning. This is made easier by having a goal.
Getting a diary, an actual physical once, can help create a plan for you. Equally important, I find running helpful but that might not necessarily be the exercise for you. Some students might find yoga helps them wake up, others may find jumping immediately into a hot shower beneficial. Once this regular activity has begun it becomes easier to fit in more things into your day.
Some students love it, some students hate it. But it is essential. NHS guidelines recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day or 150 minutes a week. This may sound like a lot at first glance, but it actually isn’t. For my first year the university gym intimidated me, and I did not go, this was a mistake. I did make up exercise with walking, but this isn’t enough to stay healthy.
There are work out apps now available (both free and paid) that coordinate workout routines for you and can fit in abs, legs, cardio and every other sort of workout you can imagine. These can be done without equipment or with. This doesn’t need to be something you do alone either, why not grab a friend and work out together either in your own home or the gym?
My final point is eating healthily. The sleeping regularly and the exercising regularly from the previous paragraphs cannot be done unless you also eat right. As a student, it is difficult to fit around lectures or socialising, but it is important. Three meals a day is the general recommendation and for this meal prep can be the best skill you can learn. Cooking for just yourself can seem complicated, everything comes family sized. This is where freezing comes in, making a potato pie or tuna pasta bake and then freezing it means you have a ready meal that requires little to no effort because you’ve already done the effort earlier in the week.
University is an exciting time in your life and you should have nights where perhaps you don’t go to sleep till 2am or you have a frozen pizza because you can’t be bothered to cook. What is important is creating a routine that you stick to (most of the time).