Mental Health Tips of the Month

Developing Healthy Habits for a Successful Spring

January 2015

Between exams, papers and maintaining an active social life, many college students feel they can't really find the time to keep up on their personal health and wellness until an illness catches hold and stops them in their tracks. Here are a few tips to help students make the most of the resources at their fingertips and to ensure they stay healthy and illness free throughout the spring semester.

Diet
Learn proper portion size. To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you're eating. For most people, meat servings should be about the size of a deck of cards and other servings vary by the type of food.

Vary your meals. When the cafeteria has your favorite foods daily it can be easy to return to those old favorites every day. Changing up your diet from day to day is an important part of good nutrition so take advantage of the variety of selections available to you.

Eat breakfast. Start your day off right with a good meal when you get up. Whether you're rolling out of bed at noon or up at the crack of dawn for class, make sure you start your day with a balanced, healthy meal.

Exercise
Play a sport. One way to get yourself motivated to exercise is to make it a game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or play recreational sports through your school to get active and have fun at the same time.

Head to the gym. Most schools provide students with gym facilities they can take advantage of for free. Head to the gym between classes or when you get up in the morning to squeeze in a workout.

Take advantage of fitness courses. Along with gym facilities most students will have access to fitness classes they can take. Since you're already paying for these through your tuition you may as well take advantage and get a workout that will help keep you in shape and motivate you.

Sleep
Don't work in bed. Working in bed can make getting to sleep harder. Keep your work space separate from your sleep space to keep insomnia at bay.
Get a full night's rest whenever possible. While the amount of sleep each person needs varies, most people need 7-9 hours to feel fully rested. While this may not be possible every night, try to sleep a full night whenever you get the chance.

Stress
Create a routine. If you get yourself in the habit of studying, working out, and sleeping at certain hours, it will be easier to fit in all the things you need to do in a day without feeling too stressed out.

Put limits on work hours. You can't work all the time-fun and relaxation have to be part of your routine as well. Limit the times when you will work to give yourself time to sleep and rest up so you won't get sick.

Give yourself a break. If you've been working steadily for hours, give your eyes and mind a chance for a rest by taking a break. You can come back feeling more refreshed and ready to go.

Mental Health
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help with their depression but this is unnecessary as it's a common and treatable problem that you don't have to deal with alone. Tap into campus resources to find help or tell a friend how you're feeling.

Keep in touch with family and friends. You can help beat homesickness and loneliness by keeping in touch with friends and family members.

Build new friendships. A big part of the college experience is meeting new people and forming new friendships so get out there and meet new people whenever possible.


If you would like to learn more about developing healthy habits, come to a Let’s Talk station (see schedule below) for a brief informal consultation with a CAPS clinician, or call CAPS at 713-743-5454 to schedule an initial appointment.

Let’s Talk Locations and Hours
Students do not have to be a current resident of a residence hall to utilize the Let’s Talk consultation.

Monday Agnes Arnold Hall Breezeway
Cougar Village II
12:00 - 1:00pm
5:00 - 7:00pm
Tuesday Athletics Academics Offices (2108C)
CRWC Wellness Classroom
Cougar Village I
1:30 - 2:30pm
3:00 - 4:00pm
4:00 - 6:00pm
Wednesday Moody Towers Breezeway
AD Bruce Religion Center Conference Room
1:00 - 2:00pm
4:00 - 5:30pm
Thursday Center for Diversity and Inclusion, UC B12 1:00 - 2:30pm