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Navigating Health Management in College: Tips for New Students

Charlie Fletcher

Navigating Health Management in College: Tips for New Students

It can be overwhelming when you first show up to college, learning your new schedule, passing your classes, and making new friends. Still, you also need to manage your health to stay mentally and physically ready to tackle the next four years of intense study. Here are some guidelines to help as you adjust to college.

Find Time To Eat Right And Exercise

When you first get to college, it can be tempting to splurge at the school cafeteria and eat unhealthy snacks when it seems like you only have five minutes per meal. However, you owe it to yourself to eat better so you can feel more fulfilled over time. Fast foods and trans fats may sound appetizing, but they can make you feel sluggish when you need to be energetic. When you eat a healthy diet full of nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of water, you’ll stay fit, be more active, and have better concentration in class.

Eating healthy may seem tough on a tight schedule, but there are many ways that you can eat a solid diet while in college. Find a way to eat something healthy for breakfast every morning, be it a piece of fruit, single-serve oatmeal, or hard-boiled eggs. When you get a chance to sit down for a meal, make it worthwhile by adding extra vegetables, avoiding rich sauces, and skipping soda when possible.

It’s also vital that you get up and exercise whenever you can. When you’re on your own at college, spending all your time relaxing around the dorm is tempting, but you must be careful. There are risks to being a couch potato, including poor blood circulation, back problems, and stress in the neck. Finding a way to exercise in college can mean walking to your classes instead of driving your car or the bus. During lunch or between classes, try to get to the school gym, where you can lift light weights, run on the treadmill, and practice strength training exercises like lunges, squats, and pushups.

Maintaining Your Mental Health Is Essential

College can be stressful, especially when you’re new and still trying to get the lay of the land. The key is not to take on too much. You may want to volunteer and get a part-time job, but it’s wise to wait until you get used to the routine of your classes, or you may quickly become burned out. If you’re stressed because you don’t think you’ll meet people, go to on-campus events like pep rallies and study groups, and you’ll likely make connections.

Once you get used to the flow of college, you can incorporate strategies into your routine to ease your mind. If there’s a park nearby, consider going on nature hikes before or after your classes. Studies have shown that spending time in nature two hours per week can help you to feel more at ease and happy with life.

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle at college, so sometimes you may need to step aside and spend some time alone to ease your mind. Exercising early in the morning or practicing yoga can give you time to be alone with your thoughts so you can prepare your mind for a busy day. Meditation is another option because it can help you to relax and focus. Once you get in the habit, you may find that you can study more efficiently and find it easier to recall information during tests. If you don’t know how to meditate or need help, look for apps online, such as The Mindfulness App and Stop, Think, & Breathe.

Get Help When You Need It

Finally, although it may take time to build up a dependable group of friends at college, know that you are never truly alone.

If you need help with medical needs, reach out to a local physician. You can also go online and use a telehealth app. There are numerous health conditions that an online doctor can treat. They can help you diagnose common issues like cold and flu symptoms. If your throat is tight or you’re coughing a lot, the doctor could troubleshoot to see if you have conditions like asthma. Online doctors can even help with vision and hearing issues via the computer.

Online doctors can also provide mental health and counseling services, so never be afraid to reach out for help. If it’s not an online doctor, then call a campus support group or speak to your guidance counselor.

Be Responsible With Your Records

When you’re at college, having medical records and your health history on hand when you need it is important. Providing accurate data when visiting the doctor is vital so they can properly diagnose. However, you may not need to keep every piece of paper you receive, especially if it doesn’t provide value or it’s turning into clutter in your small dorm. When you’re done with a document, you can’t just throw it away, or criminals can use it to commit identity fraud, so consider shredding it instead.

Shredding services are becoming more common over time, and you can choose to drop off your paperwork at a shredding facility or have a mobile shredder come to you. Your shredding choice may come down to price, in which case the drop-off option would be about $1 per pound of paper, while the average for mobile shredding is $130-$150. Your choice will depend on how much shredding you need and if you can get to a facility.


Consuming a healthy diet and starting an exercise routine may not be the first things you think about when getting to school, but they’re important nonetheless. Get a good routine going right away, and you can thrive for the rest of your college career.

SEE ALSO: How to Choose the Right Student Housing in the U.S.

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