January 29, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: Balancing Our Health, Wellness, and Everything Else

It’s almost the end of January, so it’s time to check in with our New Year’s Resolutions.  Once we establish our 2016 goals, we are motivated and inspired—we wake up earlier, drink lots of water, take off our makeup before bed, and work towards those six-pack abs. Then all of the sudden, college starts back up and the resolution to work out five times a week and eat less take-out has become a mere memory…

In my first semester of college, I developed a new mindset where I focused more on academics and socializing than on my mental and physical health. I stopped monitoring the late night snacks I scavenged for, and my only exercise was the 10-minute walk to class. For someone who lived a very active lifestyle with ballet, this new way of living felt somewhat freeing, but it also resulted in a battle with my body. I convinced myself I was too busy to care about my overall health. We all hear about the “freshman fifteen” and “academics come first” has been hammered into our brains since grade school. But there must be a balance between our work lives and our overall well-being. Here are a few guidelines that work best for me, even in the busiest of times.

- Lay Down Some Realistic Goals -
What I’ve discovered in my first year of college is that setting a realistic goal looks different for each person. Whether it’s about eating certain foods, working out for a certain amount of time, or sleeping more, we have to consider our daily schedule and priorities. Overloaded with Pinterest articles and photos, we too often create goals that may be extremely difficult given our college lives. To stay positive and motivated, it’s best to tailor our goals to who we are as individuals.

- Visually Strategize Your Plans -
With so much going on in our brains it’s nearly impossible to remember everything we think of. Take a seat and grab a planner; I find it’s one of the best ways to keep track of the chaos. I use two planners—one for everyday things like work and deadlines, and one for workout routines and health goals. By using both calendars I can see which time slots are best to pencil in a workout. The health planner is a great way to create good habits, plan workouts ahead of time, and remind ourselves of our coveted goals.  By visually looking at our schedule, we will feel in control of our time, confident in our execution, and happy we achieved a balance.

- Go Easy on Yourself -
One person can’t do everything. You are allowed to relax and take a deep breath. I’m always bouncing from priority to priority, but by taking a break and spending quality time with my sisters, I’ve been able to find a balance that allows me to be ambitious in both my academics and my health. Health and wellness do not only come in the form of cardio and sweat; they can also be achieved in taking a walk with a good friend or going to brunch with your sisters. We are all busy striving for the highest ideals, but there will always be time to be kind to our minds and bodies. 

Caitie Santo is a collegiate member at Butler University (Epsilon Beta).

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