Are you in college and also struggling with achieving social-academic balance? Here are some tips from a College Health Coach.

This is a summary from an interview to Journify’s College Health Coach. Ellie provides an individualized and holistic approach to living healthfully in college. College life is when we start developing our lifestyle habits as an adult, so the earlier we become mindful of our own wellbeing the easier it is to live a healthier life!

You specialize in helping college students live a healthful life. How did you become passionate about this specific audience? Do you have a personal story you would want to share?

My passion for health and wellness stems from wanting to feel as healthy & happy as possible in my body. When I left for college and proactively chose to live on-campus in a “Wellness Living & Learning Community” I thought I was guaranteeing myself a healthy college experience. My best intentions however could not save me from the overwhelming stressors of college life. Between the three times a day all-you-can-eat college cafeteria, a relationship break-up, recovering from mono and an eating disorder, and struggling with dyslexia, it was just too much with too little support. Despite my obstacles, I managed to complete my freshman year, transfer schools, and graduate college on time with honors. Nevertheless, it did not need to be that hard. I thought I was prepared for the challenges I would face in college; however, the reality was I needed more resources and accountability. Looking back, if I could wave a magic wand, I would have created a college health coach just for me. While I cannot go back, I can move forward and offer my health and wellness personal knowledge and professional training through an integrative and holistic model of coaching as The College Health Coach.

The academic and social pressure in college (that comes with eating junk food and beer) cause students to develop really bad eating habits and more anxiety. Do you think colleges should play a role in promoting healthier habits? 

Absolutely! I think colleges have a responsibility to provide health & wellness education and resources to their students. There are so many healthy huddles to jump and students need to know they are supported and encouraged in their healthy efforts.

Do you have any practical tips on how to achieve a better social - academic balance?

1) Create Accountability

This can be with a friend, advisor, or yourself. Utilizing alarms and notifications can be really helpful. 

EX: You want to go out Saturday night but need to write a paper over the weekend. Set an alarm to signal you to start working on it Friday evening at 5:00pm and a second alarm that tells you to stop at 9:00pm. Additionally, you can ask your roommate to check in with you Saturday morning to make sure you did what you said you needed to do. 

2) Prioritize

Note what are the most important social engagements as well as the most important academic assignments/deadlines on your calendar, iPhone, etc.

EX: If you signed up to play intramural soccer with your friends, note when the games and tournaments occur. Practice is important, too, however if you needed to miss a practice or two due to academic demands that is probably okay. 

3) Organize your Weekly Goals

Every week is different. Some are more academically demanding while other weeks allow for extra free time. Recognize YOUR week in advance and set realistic social and academic goals accordingly. 

EX: Sunday night look at your social calendar for the week and your academic deadlines for the week. Carve out time for both and notice if it's going to heavier on the social side or academic side. 

 
 
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From our Journify coach Ellie B:

As The College Health Coach, I provide an individualized and holistic approach to living healthfully in college. Since no two college experiences are the same, coaching is specialized to meet the individual needs of each students. Whether it is struggling with the freshman fifteen, facing the challenges of test anxiety, or identifying the signs of an unhealthy relationship, I support students in their journey to make positive, personal change. Let’s face it, between the pizza, beer, parties, papers, and all-nighters in college, we all need a coach from time to time!

 
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