Simple healthy habits to kick off the new year
Welcome to term 2! We hope you had a good first term, and a relaxing winter break.
A new term is a great time to get into some new, healthy habits.
Habits are built from routine, repetition, and understanding why you’re doing something. They’re not always easy to get used to (and it may take you longer than 21 days to form a habit). Still, healthy habits are so important to your overall success and happiness. Just remember to start small and strive for achievable actions to make your new habits stick.
To get you started, here are our top 7 healthy habits for a successful semester.
Carry a water bottle
Hydration is key to feeling good all day long. It can help you avoid headaches, make better food choices, stay focused, and lots more. Plus, bringing your own water bottle helps save the environment from plastic, and keeps campus cleaner.
Pro tip: Vancouver’s tap water quality is the best in the world. You can fill your bottle at water fountains or taps in most buildings around campus. Next time you’re early for class, take a quick peek around the building to find the nearest fountain.
Pack lunch (and lots of snacks)
With all the great food spots on campus, it can be tempting to buy your favourite foods every day. But, it’s a lot easier on your wallet (and your arteries) to pack a lunch for the day. Try watching some meal prep videos on YouTube to get started.
If you live in residence, you can still plan ahead by thinking through a healthy eating plan for each week. Also, grab a few pieces of fruit with each meal to snack on between classes.
If you have a hard time resisting campus food temptations, you can reward your new habit of prepping lunch by buying yourself a meal once a week.
Plan a weekly activity date
University can get pretty demanding pretty fast. Before you get too busy, start the habit of taking an activity break with one or more friends at least once a week. You could plan to go for a walk around campus (or to Wreck Beach) every Wednesday afternoon, or become a regular at one of UBC’s fitness classes.
Take time away from screens
Social media, TV, and computers serve us a lot of information very quickly. You may not notice, but all this information and LED light can get overwhelming and overstimulating, and it often distracts us from other things that make us happy.
To help calm your brain and take some time for yourself, set aside 10 to 30 minutes a day with no screens. You can fill this time with anything that makes you feel good. Try drawing, writing, meditating, playing music, or taking a walk. It’s especially helpful to turn off your screens a few minutes before bed for a better, deeper sleep.
Be kind to yourself
The thoughts you have about yourself have a huge impact on what you do and who you become. So, practice being kind to yourself. Notice when you’re comparing yourself to others or feeling inadequate, then slowly start to replace negative thoughts with compliments.
It can be helpful to start each day by saying something kind, motivating, or reassuring to yourself. Or, for step-by-step help with positive self-talk, check out Anxiety BC’s “Thinking Right” resource.
Did you know that helping others has lots of health benefits? It can help you make friends, feel good, try out new skills, and find a community. There are many ways to give back: Try doing something small for a stranger or friend each day, or sign up for a volunteer position if you have the time. You just might find your mood improving as your positive endorphins surge from all the giving!
Most of us need a reminder to slow down and live in the moment every now and then. Although it’s easy to get caught up thinking about the future or worrying about the past, appreciating the current moment can really improve your health, concentration, and happiness.
For some people, that means sitting quietly and thinking about nothing, while for others, it means noticing the things you’re feeling right now. Journalling or taking a walk are two great ways to appreciate the moment.