The first year of college brings a flurry of excitement for an armed and ready freshman. Amid all the novelty, personal health often finds itself left behind with well-meaning promises for later attention. Give your mind and body some love and take on the year with these tips for staying happy and healthy at UCSB.
Drink water: Surrounded by the endless Pacific, it’s easy to employ some faulty logic and trick yourself into thinking you’re hydrated. Grab a reusable water bottle and get into the habit of replenishing the fluids you lose through everyday activity. The recommended amount is about eight cups per day, but your ideal intake should match your lifestyle. Turn up the pressure by downloading Plant Nanny, an app that waters a select plant every time you drink water. Stay hydrated, or the plant dies. Your choice.
Sleep: College students are not invincible. Don’t wait to nap until you’re standing deliriously in the middle of Storke Plaza. Try to follow a regular sleep pattern fit for your schedule. Michael Takahara, UCSB Health & Wellness Educator, suggests students limit distraction to stay rested.
“We’re so connected to our social media that we don’t allow ourselves a break from all that noise. When you cut that off you’re giving your brain a chance to actually process information from your day and take charge of your body,” Takahara said.
Exercise: This means something different to everyone, but physical activity grants many benefits to all involved. Goleta, Sands and Campus Beach all offer beautiful ocean views for a run, while UCSB’s Recreation Center makes hitting the gym easy. For those looking to venture off campus, check out local hiking trails like Lizard’s Mouth, accessible through carpool programs.
Eat well: That flurry of excitement mentioned earlier consists of about 50 percent pizza nights, ice cream socials, Taco Tuesdays, Cookie Butter networking nights and various other activities that cause one to harbor deep regret by Winter Quarter. Always eat breakfast, whether it’s a full meal at Ortega or even just a yogurt on the go, and take advantage of the sustainable and health-focused dining hall experience at UCSB with its plethora of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Most importantly, be wary of the ice cream tubs in all their beautiful treachery. Takahara recommends student utilize “mindful eating” to clear your head and avoid overeating.
“Take the time to really enjoy your meal without distractions like a phone or TV,” Takahara said.
Mental health: Student Affairs provides several free resources including mental health appointments at Counseling and Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.), complimentary massages at various locations on campus and an elusive egg chair located in the C.A.P.S. building that enters the dreams of many a UCSB student. Don’t forget to slow down with some mind-time every now and then in the midst of your busy schedule.