Health/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

A simple guide to taking care of your health at university

When you move away to university, you’re in a completely different environment. Many of us are living away from home for the first time, and you have to balance what feels like a million different activities at once. This can make it difficult to focus on your health.

Your list of priorities is most likely going to include making friends, learning how to cook and do laundry, and getting used to the new way of studying. However, your physical health is just as, if not more, important than these things.

As soon as your physical health starts to slip, so does your mental health, which makes everything else difficult. University is completely different to A-levels in the sense that you have to look after yourself as well as doing your degree.

Something you can do before you get to Warwick to ensure you are going to be taking care of your physical health is to register with the on-campus doctors. Warwick Health Centre is great, and I have had nothing but good experiences as all the staff are all so lovely. They seem acutely aware of the fact that, for most of us, it is the first time we are looking after ourselves.

Our immune systems are not the best at dealing with alcohol, late nights, and unhealthy diets all at once

You are, unfortunately, not allowed to be registered at two doctors. I would recommend registering at the university one because I find most health problems come up during term time. Lots of my friends got ill in freshers simply because they were exposed to new germs, and our immune systems are not the best at dealing with alcohol, late nights, and unhealthy diets all at once. Make sure you register with Warwick Health Centre after results day once you have enrolled with the university.

Having to cook for yourself for the first time comes with its own challenges. When you no longer have parents ensuring that you eat healthily, it’s easy to eat whatever you want, but this poor diet can cause health issues. SimplyCook recipe kits allow you to make easy, healthy, meals with few ingredients and are definitely worth looking into. Cooking with a flatmate can also alleviate some of the pressure of cooking for yourself.

Try to drink orange and cranberry juice to boost your immune system and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. The Students’ Union does a fruit and vegetable market every Friday which has lots of fresh and cheap produce. Drinking water is also very important, and there are lots of places on campus to fill up water bottles.

You might want to make yourself a little First Aid kit before coming to university

You might want to make yourself a little First Aid kit before coming to university with things such as paracetamol (necessary after nights out), ibuprofen, vitamins (good for boosting your immune system with late nights, early mornings and not the healthiest of lifestyles) and Lemsip for the inevitable fresher’s flu.

Going to the gym is another way to keep fit and is also good for your mental health. Warwick’s new sports centre is incredible and perfect for those living on campus. I went to the Simply Gym in Cannon Park (near Tesco) in my first year which was reasonably priced and had excellent facilities.

A trip to the gym makes me feel better in myself and is a break from work. It also sounds simple, but try to get into a good sleep schedule. This took me two terms to get into because it is difficult when you are living with your friends and it feels like there is so much to do, but you feel better and are more prepared for your studies if you get an early night.

Being surrounded by new friends and not having to be back home at a certain time meant that I was drinking most nights in term one

Away from home, in an environment that fosters a culture of drinking, it is easy to slip into bad habits and overindulge. Binge drinking is common among students, particularly during fresher’s week. I know that I was guilty of this. Being surrounded by new friends and not having to be back home at a certain time meant that I was drinking most nights in term one. Luckily, this calmed down a lot in term two as we all had more work to do and I realised that I had lost a lot of weight when I was at home and not drinking. I saw how bad for my health this was and now I am more conscious of my limits. I still go out with friends and drink on the odd occasion, but I tend to limit myself to twice a week (if that). Prioritise your health and remember that alcohol isn’t essential for a good time.

University is going to be one of the best experiences of your life, and you don’t want anything to get in the way of that, including being ill. You can’t always prevent sickness, but you can definitely make sure that you’ve got the best chance of staying healthy, so please use some of these tips and take good care of your health.

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