How to Stay Healthy in College: Tips for Creating a Healthy Routine

Wellness Tip for Students & Creating a Healthy Routine

How to stay healthy in college is a bigger concern now than at any time in history, especially for students living in dorms. While university and school administrations have strict rules in place for interacting with others on campus and in the classroom, what you do when you’re at home in your apartment or dorm room matters as well. The best routine for students is a healthy one, but that’s easier said than done. Or is it? There are many simple steps you can take. Together, they add up to a healthy routine.

One year into the COVID pandemic, many hygiene and wellness tips have become second nature. Wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, always wear a mask when you’re outdoors or around others. It can be a bit more complicated to determine how to stay healthy in college dorms. For college students living away from home—many for the first time—developing a healthy routine and avoiding the risk of infection are all essential steps to staying well, performing well, and being ready for a successful school year.

The Basics of a Healthy Routine

Your physical health directly impacts your mental health, so taking good care of your body is a great start for your overall health and wellness. Eating a good diet and getting regular physical exercise are two of the most important steps you can take to stay healthy.

Eat Healthy Foods – This is especially true for students living in dorms with limited cooking options outside of the cafeteria. College life is often full of caffeine, fast food, late-night pizza deliveries, bags of salty snacks, sugary sodas, and energy drinks. While each is fine in moderation or as an occasional indulgence, don’t let these become your core diet, or your health and immune system will eventually suffer the consequences.

Regular Exercise – With so many virtual options, exercising can be as simple as pulling up your favorite YouTube or TikTok fitness channels and working out right in your room. Many student dorms and apartments offer convenient onsite fitness centers featuring a range of equipment and classes. Walking, jogging, or running is a great option, so if all else fails, get outside and enjoy some fresh air in an open space that’s not packed with people and burn off any excess energy

Drink Water – While there’s an ongoing debate on just how much water we should drink daily, most people need to drink more. Water flushes toxins and helps with hydration. Drinking enough water is especially important in hotter climates or during exercise. Drinking a glass of water half an hour before eating can also keep you from overindulging, so grab those water bottles and get drinking!

Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is an essential ingredient in staying healthy. Between being away from home, socializing, the demands of homework, noisy neighbors, and night owl roommates, many students living in dorms do not get all the sleep that they need. Establish a healthy routine before bed that allows you to get the 7-9 hours of sleep you need each night to stay healthy.

Practice Mindfulness – Take some quiet time each day to just relax and destress. Meditate, do some yoga or stretching, listen to music, read a book, or just go for a quiet walk in nature. Journaling is another excellent way to work through stress and complex feelings you may be experiencing while being away from your family and friends.

Tend to Your Mental Health – If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, or other mental health issues, you are not alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or relative, or make an appointment to speak with a doctor or counselor. There are also many online resources available to help if you’re not comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with people you know.

COVID-Specific Wellness Tips for Students

Don’t Get Too Close – Until the pandemic ends, social distancing is a must. Maintain social distancing whenever possible, and mask up when you’re leaving your dorm or apartment. Avoid direct sharing of food, drinks, and silverware – even with close friends.

Wash Your Hands Frequently – Hand washing is a simple step in a healthy routine, but it can make a difference. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth in public areas, especially while COVID remains a threat. Frequent hand washing prevents germs and viruses from spreading across campus. Carry hand sanitizer and wipes to disinfect any surfaces like desks and chairs before settling into class.

Stay Home When You’re Unwell – Not feeling good? It could be nothing but a bug or an off day (we all have them), but in order to be safe and prevent the potential spread of viruses and infectious diseases, stay home and out of the classroom. And don’t stress too much; your professors will understand and appreciate your efforts to keep everyone safe. Resting and recuperating at home is the best way to recover quickly so you can get back to campus life. If you don’t feel better in a day or two, your campus health center can provide more guidance, and if you need to see a doctor, make an appointment.

Keep Your Space Clean – Keeping your living space clean is vital to maintaining good health over your lifetime. Don’t let dishes and clutter pile up, wash sheets and pillowcases at least every two weeks (every week is ideal), and take out the trash regularly to keep mold and bacteria from forming. Speaking of bacteria, don’t let that laundry pile up – just do it, or you risk mold and mildew (EW).

That’s it! While it’s impossible to eliminate all health risks, if you follow these basic wellness tips for students and start taking the steps toward a healthy routine, your campus experience will be a better, healthier one overall. Have a favorite healthier campus life tip? Share it with us on our social channels! It’s all part of being a good member of the View on the Square, Texas State, and the San Marcos community.