Student Wellness

Student wellness, like wellness of any kind, looks different depending on the individual. We have talked about wellness a lot in the past (the second word of our company is wellness after all), but what does that look like for students? The context of wellness is similar but slightly different for students compared to those who are working at a job full-time, for example. While students may compare their university life to a full-time job, many students spend much more than 40 hours per week going to classes and studying.

It is still important to consider aspects like energy, stress, sleep, nutrition, and physical activity, but it is also worthwhile thinking about focus, concentration, study habits, and student-life balance. Coming from someone who recently finished a 6-year degree, I can attest to the fact that taking care of ourselves and optimizing our wellness is crucial to maximize success. Had I not grasped the idea of what practices or habits to put in place to do this for myself, I am confident I would not be where I am today.

For me, two major components that supported my wellness were physical activity and cooking. Those were huge in keeping stress levels low, which enabled my energy, sleep, focus, and concentration to remain higher. Going for a run or a solid workout at the university gym and cooking up a bunch of food for a few days worth of meals was stress relieving for me, but it also provided my body with benefits outside of that. I found that batch-cooking meals was helpful in ensuring I was getting the nutrients I needed by putting together lunches to take with me to school and had dinners in the evening to come home to at the end of the day. Enough cannot be said about how healthy eating and regular physical activity can benefit the human body in general, let alone bringing school-work into the mix.

Please realize that just because the above strategies worked for me, it does not mean they will work for you. Find your own combination of daily or regular actions that work together to contribute to your wellness in a positive way. With any aspect of wellness, there is no “right way” to do things. As I tell clients all the time, the “right way” is the way that allows your actions to be sustainable in the long-term, are realistic for your lifestyle, and are practical in the sense that you have the tools and knowledge to carry out those actions. At the end of the day, this will hopefully lead to you being happier and less stressed, in turn optimizing your performance at school and in life outside of school.

How does one figure out which strategies and actions to utilize are the best for them? Unfortunately, it primarily comes down to trial and error or personal experimentation. Acknowledge the fact that it is difficult to have it all figured out right away in your first year of post-secondary schooling. Doing so will prevent any feelings of being a “failure” or “not doing as good as expected”. It may take a little bit of time to identify how you should best handle your wellness and that is perfectly normal. Do not give up in seeking out your “sweet spot” where your actions best contribute to maximizing your wellness; I promise you the effort put in now will pay for itself later on.

By Brandon Gruber, Dietitian