Have a Plan for Well-Being

When it comes to well-being there is no “one size fits all” model. Ultimately there are several things you can do that promote optimal well-being—it’s just a matter of finding what works well for you. Knowing what works well before you go to college can not only help with your transition to college, but it can also help you develop habits and skills you will use well beyond your college years. Here are seven things to consider when building your plan and for maximizing your well-being on campus.

Determine how physically active you would like to be and how you can best accomplish this. Moving your body at least 30-60 minutes each day is recommended. If that chunk of time feels overwhelming, short bursts of exercise or movement will do just fine. Learn about your campus fitness facilities and classes, recreational programs like intramurals and club sports, fitness or movement focused clubs, and local walking or running routes. Your surrounding community may also have classes, gyms, or studios that interest you. 


Prioritize sleep. Most likely you will need 7-9 hours a night to feel your best. Learn how to promote quality sleep. Aim for consistent sleep and waking times and talk with your roommate(s) about both of your sleep goals. 


Think about your living environment and how you would like it to feel. What colors or textures do you find comforting? What type of space promotes focus for you? How clean do you prefer your space to be? What type of music relaxes you? If you are sharing a room, these are all things to consider when planning out your purchases and speaking with your roommates about your space. 


Have a method for managing stress and dealing with setbacks. Whether it’s through fitness, mindfulness or meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, or gratitude, find something that makes you feel better and make it part of your daily or weekly routine. 


Identify your values and what you value in friendships. Social connectedness is important for well-being and you will be meeting a lot of new people in your classes,  campus clubs, and residence halls. What qualities in a friend are important to you? This will help you seek meaningful relationships and identify ones that may not be as fulfilling. 


Find something to do that gives you a feeling of purpose or a sense of accomplishment. At school, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine of going to classes and studying. While you don’t have to discover your life’s calling, having a fulfilling co-curricular activity, job, volunteer opportunity, or project increases mood, social connections, and satisfaction. It can also provide space to connect what you are learning inside the classroom to your community. 


Plan out your time. Classes, homework and study time, extra curricular activities, work, projects, fitness time. It seems like there are a lot of things to fill up you week, but you can manage time for the many things you need and want to do by having a plan. You are in classes for only 12-16 hours per week, and if you factor in a full night’s sleep, there is still about 96 hours a week to fit all of this in.  Students who plan out and manage their time fare better than students who do not.