By Alyssa Ollivier-Tabukashvili
As you dive into a new kind of independence at university, it’s easy to get caught up in a spiral of nights out, drunk takeaways, and then hangover food. Of course, you might not be the type to go out at all, but without your parents or guardian looking out for you, it can be difficult to stay in control of your physical health.
The important thing is to have good habits from the start. Sure, it’s called “Freshers’ Week”, but in reality, freshers’ lasts practically a month, and some treat the entire first year as freshers’ week. If you don’t give yourself boundaries from the first day, you’re likely to develop long-lasting bad habits or fall into a downward spiral.
With this in mind, you can go out, drink (or not), and maybe get that late night take out if you really want, while keeping control throughout the day. That’s to say, eating well, getting into a good exercise routine and drinking plenty of water. These three things can be simple enough if you start right.
– Have a water bottle that you drink from throughout the day so you know how much you’re taking in. You could even have 3-4 disposable water bottles nearby (generally 500ml each) so you don’t ‘forget’ to refill.
– Make drinking this much water a habit. Yeah, you’ll have to pee a lot, but think of how satisfying and detoxifying it is, especially when it’s clear or a light yellow.
– We all get a little carried away when student finance comes in, so if you’re going to splurge, why not on good food? Get yourself some fish, lean meats, eggs, tofu, and then fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re unsure on how to use them, even a 1kg bag of frozen vegetable mix is all you need to get you going and is much cheaper.
– Everyone has different priorities with finance, of course, so if you decide food isn’t one, you don’t have to buy organic or fresh all the time, if you’re making the minimal effort to get a balance of protein and vitamins then you’re starting well.
– To avoid eating processed and high-sugar snacks, don’t buy them. Easier said than done, but if they’re not there to eat, they won’t be going in your body.
– Also, remember that no one will think you’re strange for turning down a flat take out. Sure, they’re great for bonding with your flatmates, but if consumed regularly they’re costly and unnecessary. Your cooking will impress them far more and you can still eat together.
– For exercise, you have a number of options: join a sports club, this keeps you committed to some form of movement on a weekly basis; join the gym, maybe knowing you spent money on that membership will keep you going; or go for a run for free or use online workouts.
– Even if you’re not motivated to do rigorous exercise yet, going for a decent-length walk multiple times a week is enough to get your heart rate up a bit. Walk a couple rounds of the lake by the Ziggurats (you’ll get a nice Insta-worthy picture that way), or walk into the city centre.
If you are going out and drinking, here are also a couple of things to remember:
Pre-drink reasonably. Pre-drinking is this big phenomenon I only heard about once coming to university. In theory it’s excellent, but in practice, from all that I have seen and heard, it defeats itself.
-Remember to be reasonable then, if you’re pre-drinking to save money, don’t actually buy the drinks at the club after.
– Don’t start so early that you have to keep drinking to avoid ‘sobering up’.
– Even better, don’t buy into the idea that you can only have a good time if you’re throwing up at the door.
– If you are capable of making the decision, don’t get the post-club pizza or chips. All the salt and fats that go into your body after all the alcohol won’t do you any favours- except maybe emotionally.
Most of all, freshers’ week is your fun way to ease yourself into your new life. But it’s important to remember that you can be moderate; you can go out and have fun and drink if you want, but that does not mean that everything else has to be crazy too. Do your body a favour and remove your makeup, have a glass of water next to you, and tuck yourself into bed.
And when you’re not going out, give your body the best remedy possible: a good night’s sleep.
Image from Unsplash, by Brooke Lark