Graphic from Tribune News Service.
Illustration from Tribune News Service.

Everyone knows it’s important to stay healthy, but when you’re in the middle of a busy semester, this can seem almost impossible. Who has the time to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthy food, (or in some cases eat at all) and visit the doctor?

As I begin my final semester as a Weber State University undergraduate, I can look back over the past four years and cringe over the unhealthy choices I made. I am in no way qualified to advise others on health, but I can certainly offer some advice on what not to do.

As an official adult, you are responsible for taking care of yourself. When you ignore your health, everything else in your life will suffer—take it from someone who has failed repeatedly in the art of self-care.

Do not forget to eat

I admit that I still struggle remembering to eat enough when I am busy, but during my sophomore year of college, I probably consumed only 800 calories a day, maximum. Stress, personal issues and an overload of work prevented me from eating properly. There is such a thing as under-eating, and it’s just as dangerous as the alternative.

Do not overdose on caffeine

After spending a lot of time in Europe, I have grown to adore coffee. I find the taste to be wonderfully addictive. However, coffee—or any caffeine, really—should not be substituted for sleep and proper meals. As a generally anxious person, I have to be careful with caffeine, but there have been plenty of times when I accidentally overdid it. This always results in a very unpleasant few hours of nervousness and shaking, followed by the dreaded caffeine crash.

Be careful with your coffee consumption and never drink a lot of caffeine on an empty stomach. Sometimes it is tempting and easy to just drink coffee instead of eating breakfast, but I have learned the hard way that this will make you feel even worse.

Do not ignore serious illnesses

I transferred to WSU in 2013 and experienced my first semester with a terrible case of mononucleosis. I had been seriously ill and exhausted for about a month straight, but stubborn, doctor-phobic human that I am, I just assumed that I was overtired and stressed. So I kept on going, attending school and work with 100-plus fevers and swollen glands the size of golf balls until, one day, I literally could not move.

I was forced to the doctor where they took one look at me and tested me for mononucleosis. The results were positive, and after blaming my boyfriend for infecting me with his kiss of death, I surrendered and realized that I needed to take it easy.

It’s important to attend your classes and not miss work, but when you are in miserable pain and can hardly function, it is time to stay home. It is unsafe for you and those around you when you attend school or work with an illness that might be contagious.


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