BALANCE — How To Find + Maintain It in College with Amy Waugh, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Coach
Finding balance is something I am always working towards. Whether it comes to food, school, work, or quite literally a yoga class, I’m trying to stay effortlessly parallel on top of this crazy thing I call my life. One thing that has been instrumental for my health is having a coach to guide me. I have been training with Amy since May now. While her job is to write my workouts, we talk about everything while we’re at it (seriously, I never knew how good I was at multi-tasking until I worked out with her for the first time). Amy started her own business, EnCourage Strength, to help women focus on three things: strength, confidence, and positivity. Her background in psychology + certifications in personal training/nutrition coaching makes her the perfect fit for any women looking to ditch the extremes and become more empowered in their health and life. I’m so thankful for her willingness to put together this college guide for Abundantly Anna-Noel readers.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve been working towards this for your whole life, and now it’s finally here: COLLEGE!
The excitement. The freedom. The opportunities. College truly is one of the greatest times of your life. And it is the first of many adventures you will embark on as a young adult, during emerging adulthood, and as an adult. It is, quite literally, the start of the rest of your life!
You are going to live on your own for the first time.
You are going to make new friends.
You are going to learn about the world.
You are going to discover yourself.
All while going to school.
With all the excitement that comes with going to college also comes a ton of pressure.
It’s brand new.
Negative thoughts can easily come rolling in without a moment’s notice with one main theme:
When I went to college, we called it effortless perfection: the notion that you go out all the time with friends, have a relationship, get straight A’s, and maintain a perfect body, all without trying. This focus on effortless perfection among the students cultivated an extremely toxic culture- one where we were constantly comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we were never enough.
But guess what? You are enough.
It took me until my junior year to learn that. It took me two and a half years to develop a healthy relationship with food, my friends, my body, and my mind. And my last year of college was exactly what you are dreaming of right now!
You don’t have to wait that long. I promise if you walk onto campus day one of orientation and follow some of this advice, you will ALWAYS remember you are enough and have that AMAZING, EXCITING, HEALTHY college experience you have been looking forward to for 18 years!
SO HERE IT GOES:
SLEEP! All-nighters sound cool and all, but your mind needs to sleep to process all of the amazing things you are learning.
Create a normalized daily and weekly schedule. Wake up at the same(ish) time every day. Eat your meals at the same(ish) time every day. Study + sleep at the same(ish) time every day. Your body will be shocked by all the new experiences so the more you can control your environment, the better!
Keep a planner or agenda or whatever will keep you organized and take it with you everywhere!
Don’t stress over the “Freshman 15”- just live a normal balanced lifestyle and you will be perfectly fine!
College cafeterias are hard to navigate and are full of many tempting options. Focus on filling half your plate up with greens, fruits, or vegetables for all of your big meals and always having some kind of protein.
Focus on eating a RAINBOW of colors every single day.
Take snacks to class- ALWAYS (especially if they’re over 45 minutes).
Bring a water bottle with you everywhere.
Have fun on weekends and order your late-night pizza every once in a while, but not every day of every weekend.
Walk everywhere! One of the greatest parts of living on a campus is the natural exercise you get from walking to and from classes. And if time allows, take the long way every time.
Find fitness classes at the recreation center you like and take your friends for a fun weekly (or daily) activity!
Sign up for a gym class in your class schedule! Some universities allow this for partial credits/hours and it’s a great way to break up your day.
Get 30 minutes of movement in 5 days a week- but do not become obsessed with the gym. It’s a delicate balance!
Hire a personal trainer- all college campuses have options of personal trainers in the recreation centers that are relatively inexpensive and can create a routine for you!
RUN! Even if you don’t love running, it is the best stress reliever and the easiest exercise to do anytime, anywhere.
Positive affirmations will be your best friend. Write them on post-its on your mirror in the morning, in your planner, on your water bottle, everywhere. Recite them three times a day and remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of every week, write down three things you are grateful for. Whenever you are feeling down, take it out and read them.
Make time to check-in with your family and childhood friends. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, remember all of the people who adore you back at home!
Visit the Student Center or the Counseling services on campus- these are typically free for students and can be a great resource to talk to someone who will listen and understand everything you are experiencing.
Create the schedule you want and take whatever classes sound the most interesting to you, outside opinions aside.
If you need to say “no” to your social life to study, do it!
Take one day a week to relax and turn your brain off for a little while – you need some time to process and organize your thoughts to truly learn.
Don’t sweat the small stuff- it’s okay not to get a perfect score on everything, every time!
And the most important advice of all: HAVE FUN!
College is one of the very first times you get to discover exactly who you are and who you want to be. Not every day is going to be perfect. Not every day is going to feel as good as you imagined. But every day is going to be an incredible opportunity to become the BEST, STRONGEST, and most CONFIDENT version of you!