Did you know that many of the reasons students struggle in college are health and wellness related? I know that we have gone over these things before, but it never hurts to remind your student that self-care is very important and it’s okay for them to take time for themselves. As family members, self-care is a hard concept for us because we have so many responsibilities like jobs, children, etc. Let’s encourage our students to make themselves a priority sooner rather than later.
Here are a few tips to share with your student:
- Select healthier foods and never skip breakfast – Breakfast can improve energy levels, help maintain focus in the classroom and increase the overall quality of a student’s diet. Students should choose leaner protein options, make half their grains whole grains and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Our dining halls have great options for healthy eating. On dineoncampus.com/missouristate, your student can look up the different dining halls, select, for example, lunch, and see all the calories in each dish so they can stay on a healthy eating plan. They can also talk to the manager of each dining hall to discuss options if they don’t see something they like. Skipping any meal is not a good idea so if your student has a meal plan, they can get a brown bag lunch/dinner, that they can pick up from the dining hall so they can have lunch with them if they have class or work during meal times. All they have to do to get a brown bag lunch is go to the cashier, ask for a brown bag lunch form and fill it out and turn it back in. Great option when they can’t make it to class.
- Utilize Taylor Health and Wellness Center – Should your student become ill, Taylor Health and Wellness Center provides free general office visits, allergy shots and immunizations. Recommend your student get the flu shot (the flu shot is available NOW)! Getting a case of the flu can set a student back tremendously and after working hard all semester, they don’t want to lose their momentum. The pharmacy is wonderful at Taylor Health also. Great prices on over-the-counter medicine such as allergy medicine. Taylor Health is open form 8am -6pm during the week, so they can pop in, get what they need and pop out quickly. They can also charge their visit or medicine to their student account.
- Stay physically active – Campus recreation offers numerous ways students can be physically active at all hours of the day. Remind them to take a tour of the fitness center, try a BearFit class or take advantage of outdoor adventure trips. Physical activity is a great way for students to manage their stress and meet new people.
- Recharge with sleep – It is recommended that 7–9 hours of sleep is crucial for optimum performance inside and outside of the classroom. This is a hard one for our students, well, let’s face it, it’s hard for us to all get the right amount of sleep. We know that college students don’t sleep a lot because of classes, homework, studying, having a social life but do encourage them to try to sleep when they have the opportunity. Naps are a good thing.
- Get connected with friends and organizations – Taking breaks with friends and being involved in organizations on campus can really reinvigorate our students. They spend so much time studying that they need to add breaks in their schedule. It’s never too late to join a student organization, whether they are a freshman or a senior. Co-curricular activity (outside the classroom) not only connects them to organizations they enjoy, but the skills they learn in the organizations can be utilized when they are looking for jobs.
- Address signs of stress early – Forgetfulness, moodiness and fatigue can all be early signs of stress. Bears need to make stress management a part of their everyday college life. The Counseling Center can help students navigate the best options for them. Another resource that is quite helpful and always happy to visit with our students is Dr. Thomas Lane, the Dean of Students. He’s a great listener and his goal is for every student to be successful here at Missouri State. Taylor Health also has professionals on staff that help our students when they are stressed or feeling a lot of anxiety.
- Disconnect – That’s right, I said it. We need to disconnect from time to time from our phone, IPad, social media, and email. In today’s world, we are on 24-7, we never get a break so sometimes you just need to turn things off and take a breather. Read a book, for fun. Find a favorite place on campus and relax, enjoying the beauty of the campus (the trees are especially colorful right now). Enjoy a conversation with someone you don’t normally get to talk to very much. Talking face-to-face is a hard concept these days, isn’t it?