Tips for Keeping Your Mind and Body Healthy This Summer Break
By Robert Parmer
Summer break is in full swing. July heat is being soaked up all over the world. For students, it’s a time to decompress after a long school year, and finally relax.
But that doesn’t mean that our well-being shouldn’t remain at the forefront of our minds, even during summer vacations, or better yet staycations. And what about retention of the knowledge learned over the semesters and keeping our minds actively pushing the endeavors we study?
These tips are all encompassing whether you are a current or future college student, you’ll find them useful. They’ll help you stay on track for the remainder of your summer, both mentally and physically.
Focus on Relaxation and Education Instead of Overworking
It’s a dog eat dog world out there and life can feel like one exponential expense. However delegating as much time and energy into school as possible is ultimately the best decision a student can make. Working a job on top of attending school might seem ideal but it’s a delicate balancing act.
And while free time is amplified during the summer, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should all be spent working. You’ve got the rest of your life for that! If it’s at all possible, consider attending summer programs that are relevant to your field of study.
If you must work when school is back in session, try to get an on campus job. It is often times possible to multitask working and homework in those types of jobs. Or consider finding a tutoring job or consider working at your campus rec center.
Keep Yourself Fed
Most people burn more calories and do more physical activity in the summer time–it’s the nature of the warm season. We literally sweat the energy out of our bodies, so when it comes time to refuel why not eat in a more affordable way?
You should learn how to cook if you don’t know how to. Cooking is an evergreen skill that will get you far in life. Financially, it makes sense to cook meals for yourself. It’s also much healthier than eating out all the time and gives you more control and insight into the meals you consume. Both your wallet and your body will thank you for cooking healthy meals on the regular if you don’t already do so.
Recently, I wrote a College Puzzle article titled How to Break the “College Kids Can’t Cook” Mold. It offers several suggestions for college students learning to cook, and presents a handful of useful cooking resources. If you are trying to weed out sporadic spending habits like eating at restaurants all the time, be sure to check out all of the tips in my previous article.
Seek Counseling If Feeling Overwhelmed or Unsure
Whether it’s school related or something else entirely, mental health should always remain a priority for college students. Don’t allow your levels of self-care deteriorate just because there is oftentimes less structure during the summer months. Self-care is always important and counseling can help relieve mental strain and stress.
If you are feeling unsure about any part of your education, advisors are a great starting point, or an experienced peer or family member. They are typically willing to help offer direction which can help shape your future.
Always remember, there’s no shame in professional counseling of any form. While cultural stigmas exist, they are not entitled to any credibility. A resource by Bradley University Online gives this important bit of advice:
“Counseling is a useful tool that can help people develop coping skills and process emotions and feelings. But for some, the negative stigma that surrounds therapy sessions is a major deterrent to seeking help
Whether you are seeking professional help to address a mental illness, or simply to sort through an overwhelming number of emotions and thoughts, you should start by recognizing that you are not “crazy” or whatever other pejorative you may be tempted to use to describe yourself.”
Create Some Form of Workout Regime
Getting into a work out rhythm doesn’t mean you have to run out and get a gym membership.
Instead experiment with free alternatives.
Try in home workouts, using your own bodyweight in resistance training, or bicycle riding, just to name a few. If you don’t want to commit a lot of time, try quicker, more intense exercises that only take 20 minutes or less out of your day.
Above all, make attempts to be active everyday. Whether that’s a lengthy workout or a casual hike or jog in the morning just be sure to get out there and be active!
Avoid Excessive Binge Drinking
This is probably easier said than done for a lot of college students. While cutting loose and having a good time is important there is always a threshold to keep in mind. Experiment and party every once in awhile if you desire to but keep yourself in check. If drinking becomes a problem, it’s important to hold yourself accountable for your actions. Certainly have a great time this summer, but if your level of drinking becomes problematic to your health or the health of anyone around you, it’s time to get help.
Stay healthy this summer, and most importantly recuperate and relax for the upcoming semester.