Healthy Gator = Happy Gator

In honor of the flu season, this post is all about staying healthy in college. I have a few tips for taking care of yourself while your studying in the Swamp. I learned from experiences during my first year.

For year two, I came armed with a drawer full of medicine, one too many boxes of tissues and three canisters of Lysol wipes. Here are a few of my tips for staying healthy:

Part 1: Sarah’s Tips for Success

Tip #1: Clean all surfaces at least two times a week.
Lysol wipes are a true life-saver! Use them to your advantage. I make sure that I clean off the sinks, door handles and light switches at least once or twice a week. It keeps the germ population down and helps combat cold or flu viruses.

Tip #2: Know what medicine to buy.
Whether its DayQuil, Tylenol or Robitussin, you should have it on hand when you need it.  Chances are, though, that your family won’t let you leave home without a first-aid kit including all of these items. But, in case they forget, have a list of what medicine helps you make it through the day. You might not be able to avoid getting a cold or the flu. But, having medicine on hand (and extra tissues) will make it a little more bearable.

Having medicine on hand makes sickness bearable when you are away from home. 

Tip #3: Be prepared to get the flu (shot). 
I like to call it the Swamp Virus. Around late September or October, someone around you is going to catch a cold or get the flu. This happens every year, whether you are in high school, elementary school, at work or in college. During my first year, I waited to get my flu shot. That wasn’t exactly a mistake, but it is always better to get vaccinated earlier rather than later. UF recently hosted a “Chomp the Flu” event to vaccinate students. The Student Health Care Center also offers free flu shots to students with a valid UF Gator1.  More information is available on the UF Health website here.

Tip #4: Eat healthy food.
Ramen. The stereotypical college student’s diet, right? Right. Please know there are other options besides ramen. Personally, I cook and have learned my way around the kitchen. Of course, cooking isn’t for everyone. Make sure you remember to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein. Frozen dinners are also a great option. 

Tip #5: Find a way to exercise.
Walking to class is a great way to get exercise. It’s something you do anyway. So, it’s already instilled into your daily routine. UF also has two gyms on campus that are free for student use: Southwest Recreation Center (by Lakeside Residential Complex) and Student Recreation & Fitness Center (by Ben Hill Griffin Stadium).

Check how busy the gym is using these links: 
Student Recreation Center
Southwest Recreation Center 

Personally, I ride my bike to class instead of taking the bus. Not only do I get to enjoy the nature of Gainesville and take in the sights, but it is a great way to take a mental break on the way to class.

Part 2: Mental Health and Wellness

One aspect of being a happy Gator is mental health. These are a few of my tips for success:

  • Take time for yourself.
  • Go to the gym, or go for a walk to relax your mind and take a break from school.
  • Take advantage of campus resources.

The Counseling and Wellness Center is a great resource that provides students with the opportunity to “learn the skills to cope with the stresses of change and growth” as we enter our first year of college.

The Center offers counseling services, group counseling workshops and more.

Yappy Hour, one of the center’s well-known workshops, provide UF students an opportunity to hang out with a cozy, cuddly friend during their Tuesday workshop from 3:30 p.m – 4:30 p.m. You can find more information about the workshop here.

Check out these additional resources for tips on staying healthy in college:
UF Health
Student Health Care Center
Counseling and Wellness Center

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