Reality Bites: 8 Ways To Build a Healthy Lifestyle After College
POP THE BUBBLY & LAUGH IT UP – YOU EARNED THIS!
That’s right! After long years of all-nighter study sessions, spring breaks, fro yo & cheap liquor it’s finally time to say goodbye to your (new) Alma-mater. Graduation is a time to celebrate, but soon after you’ll have to put your head on straight and start out on your own. Getting a dream job after college is certainly a focus, but remember it’s important to give yourself the best toolbox so you can build your new career. To stay energized, motivated & productive you need to build a lifestyle that supports an active and dynamic lifestyle. After all, this is a time of serious change. We’re counting down some major key tips to help you nail that next interview and set yourself up for the exciting years ahead.
- SAY GOODBYE TO JUNK FOOD (Gasp!)
That’s right you heard me, it’s time. The good news is that healthy food can taste just as amazing and will be much more satisfying. Check out this site for yummy recipes & inspo: http://www.yummyhealthyeasy.com. We all deserve to satisfy a craving every now and then but it’s time to make sure that your meals are including the vital nutrients you need to keep up with an active lifestyle. You’ll be running from interview to interview or better yet – meeting to meeting so you need the fuel to keep you going.
Include a good amount of these in your diet:
- Calcium – Milk, cheeses, & broccoli are delicous and will help you build bone density before your bones lose the ability to absorb calcium. This will not only help you perform but set you up for a better body as you age.
- Lean unprocessed protein – Minimize fat & maximize energy while avoiding harmful chemicals that could lead to cancer and other ailments, freshly caught wild fish & cage free eggs are 2 great choices.
- Potassium – Potassium provides energy, flushes salts from the body (ergo minimizes bloating) and tastes amazing. (bananas & baked sweet potato fries YUM)
- Omega-3 – A beauty must and an all around health-helper. Minimizes risk of developing a slew of diseases and keeps your hair & skin happy. Omega-3 is most effectively taken in a supplement but is also found in foods like flax seed & salmon.
- Fiber – Eat your leafy greens, apart from keep your digestive system regular these are packed with vitamins & nutrients. Superfoods like Kale are a great start!
- EXERCISE – For bone density & stamina
To build bone density you should be adding (or increasing) weight-bearing aerobic exercises in your workout. In your 20s you are blessed with a highly adaptable body so try different workouts to see what you like and what is best for your needs. However – you should have cardio sessions most days of the week and include strength building exercises a couple of those days depending on your fitness goals. No one is going to make you work out now that you’re on your own so just remember to STAY ACTIVE.
- VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
You can’t always get everything you need from the food you eat, including vitamins & supplements is a quick & easy way to ensure your feeding your machine everything it needs so that you can look and feel great! If you want to know what you are taking, make your own supplements, get healthier and start saving some extra bucks!
- KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Yes, college was possibly a time of excess, but now it’s time to accept that some things (such as career goals) require dedication and that, my friend, is non-negotiable. Not every job out there will have a boss breathing down your neck but this is a time to grow quickly and tackle new challenges. You can’t do that if you’re still hung-over after lunchtime on Monday. You can still have your fun, but learn to center your schedule around activities that are going to help you achieve your long-term goals. You can enjoy a nice dinner or some wine during the week of course – if you’re working hard you may need it! And feel free to live it up on Friday and Saturday, or even brunch on Sunday (duh) but Sunday night should be time to set yourself up for the week with housework, emails, and any other little chores that need attending. OH – and Game of Thrones.
- GET UP EARLY
In college I rarely took classes that started before 11 AM so needless to say this was something I certainly struggled with. (sometimes I still hit the snooze way too many times – eek!) What you don’t realize in college is that by sleeping-in, you are missing out on some of the most productive hours of the day. By waking up early (not just for work) you can accomplish menial tasks or do some catching-up before you start your weekend fun and then you can enjoy yourself without the mental post-its and procrastination guilt. As for getting up early for work, we millennials are already getting a bad rap from our predecessors so lets all agree to really make an effort to start our day on the right foot by getting up when the alarm sounds the FIRST time. (It also will help you beat traffic and THAT will improve your mood for the day.)
- NEW EXPERIENCES
One of the perks of your new life is that you’ll be getting (hopefully) a decent paycheck, and you’ll have your weekends free. Try to use your newfound pseudo-wealth to buy the only thing that will make you richer – experience. Traveling is HIGHLY recommended, it will enrich your character and inspire you. BUT you don’t have to board a Boeing to have a meaningful experience it can be as simple as attending a food or music festival, taking in a show, strolling through a museum, or hiking a nature trail. This is the time to explore so you can figure out new things that you like, which will help you navigate the road ahead to a life that is fulfilling.
- BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
No, you will not be meeting 50 new people every day like in college but quality over quantity of relationship is going to lead to more positive relationships. Learn what kind of people make you laugh, and feel at home. Your friends and partners should care for you authentically and be there for you when you need them. To grow relationships like this you have to remember that it is a 2-way street, you have to give love to get it in return. Meaningful relationships will also help you gain new experiences. You want friends who will join you on a road trip, hike, or day in the sun!
- BE OPTIMISTIC
Yes, it is tough out there for a newly-graduated 20-something. You will probably be rejected by companies, partners, and even friends, but it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize. You’re just starting out, so the future is a mystery and isn’t that exciting? Today may not be your day but you have no idea what could happen tomorrow.
The pressures are about to sink in, so learn to compartmentalize:
- Worry about work – at work. This is easier said than done. We all feel the pressure to be successful. Not only are parents, grandparents, siblings, and partners pushing you to reach new heights, the whole world seems to be doing it too. We want to impress EVERYONE and find instant success (thank you internet for making instant gratification the new rule) so we feel the stress even when we aren’t working.
With social media we are so connected to everyone but it seems the only people we see are those who are the most successful. This has a way of skewing our expectations. Yes, that one guy got a great investor out of college, built an app and is now a millionaire at 25 but those odds were definitely ever in that guy’s favor. I’m not saying that the super successful do not work hard for it, but comparing yourself to these few cases does not help you. It makes you impatient and dissatisfied which can affect your overall happiness and performance at work. Put in the hours, but learn to let go of the stress when you leave the office.
- Don’t let financial stress rule your life: Sit down once a week and figure out where you are financially and what you can spend that week while making sure the bills are paid, along with dropping a bit of cash into savings. Thankfully we live in a very convenient time so it’s easy to keep track of your spending through banking mobile apps. But most importantly you have to STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. YES, that awesome painting would look amazing right above your couch, but that artist doesn’t need your $5,000 that was supposed to pay rent for the next few months.
- There are plenty of fish in the sea: In a time of so much change its easy to get lonely and want someone to share everything with, but don’t get hung up on someone who isn’t right for you. Stay confident in what you have to offer for the right person when they come around and don’t actively seek a relationship. If you look for one you will find one, and it may not be a healthy one.
- Visualize: Set your long-term goals and use them as motivation and inspiration. If you know that someday you’ll be calling the shots, it makes it easier to look at your bottom-of-the-ladder starter job as a learning experience without letting it get to you.
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