Counseling and Wellness

Wellness

Wellness involves a rage of behaviors to support your overall wellbeing.

On this page:

Exercise

  • Building a healthy relationship with exercise for personal wellness is important for every individual, especially college students. Starting an active and healthy lifestyle in college can enable students to develop healthy habits for a lifetime. Although everyone deals with stress differently, exercise provides a great outlet. When exercising, your brain releases powerful natural chemicals that boost your mood, relax your body, and leave you feeling happier and more focused. 
  • Take into consideration all the benefits exercise can bring you. Here are some tips to get you in the fitness groove.

Stretch first

  • Help yourself avoid injuries by stretching each time you exercise. Simple stretches before and after you work out or engage in physical activity can help keep you active and pain free.

Play something

  • One way to get yourself motivated to exercise is to make it a game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or play recreational sports through your school to get active and have fun at the same time.

Protect yourself

  • No matter what sport you're playing, make sure to always use the proper safety equipment. It will keep you from getting hurt which will allow you to stay active more often.

Hit the gym

  • Take advantage of the university fitness center. Head to the gym between classes or when you get up in the morning, or at the end of the day to squeeze in a workout.  WSU Fitness Center
  • Get involved—Along with gym facilities most students will have access to fitness classes they can take. Since you're already paying for these through your tuition you may as well take advantage and get a workout that will help keep you in shape and motivate you.
  • Avoid driving if you can—While taking a car or public transportation might be quicker, walking or biking will give you a chance to stretch your legs, burn some calories before your next class.
  • Change it up--When you work out, don't just stick to one kind of workout. Incorporate strength training, cardio and stretching exercises into your routine to make it well rounded.
  • Enjoy yourself—You're probably not going to work out if you are bored with your routine or find going to the gym torture. Find a way to make it fun for yourself and you'll be much more likely to keep it up.
  • Have a workout partner—With someone else relying on you showing up, you'll be much more likely to make the effort to work out. Plus, working out with a friend can be a great way to make working out more fun.
  • Learn more about how exercise affects our brain here
Exercise and The Brain
  •  How to find time to exercise
How to Exercise More as a Student - College Info Geek

 

Healthy Nutrition

The average college student is often pressed for time, under a lot of stress, and eating on the go. You may find it difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or frequently visiting fast food restaurants. Eating a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress, and perform better in and our of the classroom. It really isn’t that difficult to get started. Here are some helpful tips for eating on the go.  Check out the Healthy Plate for College Students  

How To: Healthy Plate for College Students | UCSB Health & Wellness

Tips For a Healthy Diet

Eat Nutritious Food

  • Busy and stressed college students often eat food lacking nutrients and, as a result, they lack the energy necessary to concentrate during class and study sessions. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and protein-rich food to have the energy to function efficiently throughout the day.

Eat a good breakfast

  • This is a good way to get your metabolism going in the morning and “breaking fast”. This will not distract you while in class and take away from potential achievements. This does not always mean a sit down meal. Grab something on your way to class like a bagel, fruit, and some juice. Many of these can fit in your backpack and is a great way to start your day.

Choose foods wisely

  • Check out our serving size chart "wallet-portion-control-size-guide"as well as "nutritional facts". Know what you are putting in your body:  limit your high fats and empty calories.   View yourself as a highly efficient super car, would you put sludge in the engine? No way. Then why put sludge in a highly efficient super student?
  • Keep healthy snacks around for yourself – small frequent meals are best throughout the day and can give you an energy and focus boost during study time. Keep healthy snacks by your side so you are not tempted by some unhealthy vending. Possibilities include fresh or dried fruit such apples, bananas or raisins, pretzels, nuts, rice cakes, or whole wheat crackers. If you have a refrigerator, consider raw vegetables such as carrots with low-fat yogurt or dip.
  • Eat foods that give something back – Choose foods with calcium such as milk, try to include ample amounts of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Also try to incorporate foods with vitamins. Check out the "Nutirition.Gov"
  • If you need to lose weight, do it sensibly - Starvation and/or diets that offer a quick fix usually backfire and are harmful. There is no truth to the theories that suggest eating foods in any particular combination will promote weight loss. The only safe way to lose weight, feel good while doing it, and keep it off, is to eat a balanced diet and exercise.
  • Learn proper portion size-- To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you're eating. For most people, meat servings should be about the size of a deck of cards and other servings vary by the "type of food"
  • Drink responsively and moderately-- College is often known for partying and if you drink alcohol be sure to do so without hurting your health. Beer comes with many calories while liquor negatively effects important organs. Both forms of alcohol comes with hangovers that can bring hurtful consequences on your body.
  • Don't confront stress through eating--Although tempting, eating bags of chips, cookies, or ice cream won’t make your stress go away. Try health activities that actually help with stress such working out or just take a break! (link to mindfulness section)
  • Drink water-- Hydration is vital for concentration and also helps you avoid overeating. Try to keep water with you throughout your day and stay hydrated.
  • Limit caffeine and sugar intake-- Although beverages such as soda are not food they can still lead to unhealthy weight and food cravings. You do not have to give up such beverages completely but be sure to moderate.
  • Limit junk food--You do not have to restrict junk food but try to eat moderately.  While a little fast food now and again won't really hurt you, try to incorporate more beneficial and healthy foods instead.
  • Make eating a priority—It is difficult to make healthy eating a priority when you are very busy.  However, in the end, a healthy lifestyle will lead to greater success in all of your endeavors. 
  • Get help for eating disorders-- Many students are focused on losing weight but understand there is a right and wrong way to go about doing this. For reference please do not hesitate to reach out to campus resources for help.
  • Learn about food myths at:
5 Eating Health Myths BUSTED!

 

Healthy Sleep Patterns

College students are at a high risk for not getting an adequate amount of sleep due to varying class times, demanding work schedules, and busy social lives. These demands can often make sleep a low priority. However, problems with insomnia and ongoing sleep deprivation have many negative repercussions such as memory problems and difficulty in logical reasoning. Inadequate sleep can interrupt physiological processes related to hormone function and blood pressure, as well as decreases both efficiency and ability to concentrate. Although a college schedule may seem chaotic, getting enough sleep is critical to your health. Take these tips with you and get some rest.

Naps are good

  • Providing you have enough time, it’s ok to take a short power nap to help your energy levels. A 15-20 min nap works wonders. Be sure to not overdue your naptime or do it too close to your bed time.
Why your Brain Needs Sleep
How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need

 

 

Work separate from your bed

  • Maintain your bed as a sleep only space. By only using your bed for sleep your brain will recognize this as a sleep only space. Doing homework or watching TV in your bed tricks your mind into thinking it is a space other than sleep.

Get a full night's rest whenever you can

  • For most people proper sleep hours varies anywhere from 7-9 hours. Keep it in that range to feel fully rested.

Routine Routine Routine

  • It can be hard to stick to a schedule, due to classes, work and spontaneous college activities. But keeping yourself on a similar schedule each day can vastly improve chances of a good night’s sleep. A routine enables your mind and body to know that bedtime is approaching.

Keep sleep a priority

  • A lack of sleep negatively effects your health by weakeing your immune system and can also reduce your ability to concentrate and to excel at class. Try to get as much sleep as you need.

Communicate bedtimes with roommates

  • Try to be on the same page with your roommate(s) when sharing a room. This way all of you and your roomies get the sleep you need.

Avoid all nighters

  • Not only does this throw off your sleep schedule, it is proven that a tired brain does not function as efficiently as a rested one. Although you may feel like you need to study all night to do well you might be doing yourself a disservice.

Avoid caffeine, eating and drinking before bed

  • Do the best you can to not throw off your body's internal clock. Try to limit consumption to a few hours before bed.

For additional information on good sleep hygeine click Sleep.pdf for a summary document highlighting good sleep hygeine (developed by Drs. D. A. Williams and M. Carey from the University of Michigan, Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center).

How To Sleep Better
How Do I Sleep Better

 


Social Support

Going to college may involve leaving close friends and family behind. This can be quite stressful for college students who have yet to establish a new support group, and can lead to a sense of feeling ‘lost’, which can be stressful. Here are some things to remember when off at college:

  • Stay connected—Whether you’re down the street or across the country, being away from home can be difficult at times. Don’t forget to use the phone, email and even Skype to stay in touch with family and friends at home.
  • Build a social support system—Create and maintain contact with a small group of people you can call on for emotional support or for distraction. You don’t have to disclose your stressors if you don’t want to; social support in of itself can be helpful in alleviating feelings of isolation.
  • Branch out—Getting involved with groups and clubs at school can be an excellent remedy for college loneliness. Join a class, talk to people you run into around campus, or take advantage of the many social opportunities on campus. It may be difficult to put yourself out there at first, but having people to study with, exercise with, and socialize can have a positive impact on your new college experience. Did you know that Wright State University has over 200 registered student organizations that vary over 10 different categories? Check out Student Involvement and Leadership.
  • Student Support Services—If you find it especially difficult to adjust to the changes or ongoing challenges of college life, there are resources to help. Counseling and Wellness offers a number of online workshops, information sheets, and self-help checklists that can relieve a lot of college stress. In addition, Student Advocacy and Wellness provides individualized attention and assistance with the resolution of student concerns