August 17, 2016

Five Healthy Habits to Keep This Academic Year

A new school year brings new classes and professors, new experiences, and maybe even new roommates — though, for many, a new school year brings a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Jonathan Jackson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Psychological Services, says students can help manage those feelings by incorporating these five healthy habits into their new school year.  

Exercise often

While in college it’s important to make time in your busy schedule for an activity you enjoy, that also gets your heart rate up. “Exercise builds resiliency to anxiety and depression and other effects of stress,” says Jackson.

Eat well

As a student, eating well is enormously helpful, says Jackson. Food is what fuels your brain and helps you think while keeping you energized and ready to tackle the your classes.

Improve your sleep hygiene

While college students are notoriously sleep deprived, says Jackson, you should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Do cognitive mental exercises

“Keep an eye out for groups on campus who do mindfulness meditation,” says Jackson. “It seems to be quite helpful.”

Use resources on or off campus

“You need to be able to recognize that you’re in distress and seek appropriate resources, which could be counseling, or even talking to family or friend,” says Jackson. “Many don’t or don’t want to recognize this and depend on other people to point it out to them.”

A student should seek help at the Center for Psychological Services when subjective distress occurs—changes in normal everyday patterns, says Jackson. There are a number of signs that a student’s stress levels, or feelings of depression, have reached an unhealthy level.

“Changes in the amount of sleep you are getting, eating habits, weight, organization, and grades are all signs of subjective distress,” says Jackson. “Becoming more introverted and socially uncomfortable are signs as well.”

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