With all the excitement that comes with starting or returning to college and all the time spent trying to balance work, sleep, and having a social life, it can be easy to forget one of the most important things — taking care of your health. Of course, there are many important aspects of being healthy, but here are a few of the most important ones:
College is when many people start to explore their sexuality or embrace adulthood. Always remember to follow the rules of consent (and seek help if you think your consent was violated), use protection, and visit your doctor if you feel sick or uncomfortable afterward. Be sure to make time for annual gynecologist appointments which are important for check-ups, screenings, and certain birth controls.
You have your hygiene basics, like showering and wearing deodorant, which is good advice for anyone in college. You also have your reproductive hygiene, which is a bit more complicated but boils down to ensuring your vaginal region is healthy. This means stocking up on menstruation products and keeping yourself clean without killing your necessary vaginal bacteria. This also means looking out for sexually transmitted disease symptoms, such as discomfort or abnormal discharge.
Beyond physical health, your mental health and emotional state are incredibly important. College can introduce a lot of stress into your life, and when left unchecked, this stress can manifest in other ways, like making you sick or making it more difficult to sleep.
Mental health can be improved with simple lifestyle changes, such as getting away from social media, exercising regularly, and getting better sleep. However, if you’re struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety, you should seek professional help.
In general, if you can teach yourself to be healthy and safe in college, you can continue being healthy and safe outside of college. In addition, you should incorporate health into your daily lifestyle, including the foods you eat, the amount of alcohol you drink and how often you exercise.
Remember that you’re not alone, no matter what happens to you. A personal support system is vital for both your physical and mental health. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between friends and doctors. Your friends likely aren’t trained professionals and aren’t a substitute for talking to a doctor or therapist, even if they’re willing to help you.