Exercise, proper diet, enough sleep lead to better mental and physical health
Living a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle is crucial. Director of Counseling Nate Williams thinks that basic self care can go a long way.
“A lot of what I see with students is that they are emotionally depleted as well as being physically sick,” he said. “Watching nutrition and increasing exercise can significantly help mental health. It applies to stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions.”
Exam and final weeks, students should make sure that they are getting enough physical activity.
“During periods of testing, being consistent with exercise can ease the mind,” Williams said. “It has a good effect on tension, sleep and mood.”
According to the American College Health Association, individuals should not exercise right before going to bed. Morning and late afternoon are the best times.
“Do a form of exercise that you like,” Williams said. “Doing something that you hate, will not relieve as much stress. If you don’t like working out in the gym, try ultimate Frisbee or another relaxing outdoor sport. Students can also get involved with intramurals.”
Caring for your spiritual life can uplift mental health.
“Studies show that the spiritual element is very important,” Williams said. “Being connected with a church brings comfort.”
Students need to find a friend that they can express their thoughts to without judgment.
“If you don’t talk, your body will,” Williams said. “Unresolved problems not talked about and processed will increase stress and inner conflict, often leading to physical complaints or illness.”
Mental health needs to have a balance with good physical health as well. Coordinator of Health Services Debbie Rosenberger, RN encourages students to be cautious of their eating habits.
“A variety of fruits and veggies is needed,” she said. “They may be more expensive but it’s worth the nutrition that you are getting from them. Also, a general multivitamin is a good idea for college students, since most do not eat an adequate diet.”
Watching soda intake is also vital to college students. Not to mention, that the dark soda drinks contain phosphates that negate calcium intake. Therefore, some may develop weak (or) porous bones [osteoporosis] in later life.
“One Coke a day over a year can add 10 pounds in weight,” Rosenberger said. “Supper should also be the lightest meal and breakfast should be the greatest. Your body is ‘breaking the fast’ after sleeping, that’s why it’s called breakfast.”
Individuals need to also be aware of the amount of sleep that their body is receiving.
“A body that is sleep deprived over a long period of times displays the same symptoms of a body under the influence of alcohol,” she said. “Students need to get their rest. Listen to your body. If you think that something is wrong, come see me or your personal health care provider.”
In order for people to stay healthy, they need to be aware of bacteria.
“The number one thing that I treated students for last year, was respiratory illnesses: colds, strep throat, sinus infections and (or) mono,” Rosenberger said.
“I saw 303 individuals for it. Don’t share saliva by eating or drinking after people. Be aware of key pads, door knobs and cell phones. They carry a lot of bacteria. Properly washing hands with soap and water can lower your chances of becoming sick.”
Sophomore Sarah Wagner is appreciative of the health care the university provides.
“Having knowledgeable counselors and nurses here is comforting,” she said. “Every student is entitled to these things and I think that UMHB does a good job on ensuring that the student comes first and that health options are provided to them.”
The Health Center clinic is located in the Mabee Student Center. It is open Monday- Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. No appointment is necessary; all services are confidential.
Rosenberger offers Cru-saders some final advice to help stay healthy throughout the year.
“Don’t put off till tomorrow, what you can do today (to decrease your stress) and prevention beats intervention (get your yearly flu shot and other preventative vaccines, along with a routine physical),” she said. “If you prevent an illness by healthy choices that is more efficient with your time, money, energy and health in the long run.”