These lifestyle tips for teens preparing for college take me back to the years that I wish I could go back and do over, honestly. Writing this article was important for me, because if I could change what I did in my teens to take care of myself I would. Entering college, I was at a critical point in life, and I didn’t make the best decisions. Since, I’ve learned so much, and as I approach 29 this year, my teens feel like a thing of the past. There are certain lifestyle tips for teens that can make such a difference in your mood, health, skin, weight and your safety, believe it or not. If you’re preparing for college, or even still in high school, or perhaps have a daughter who is, please consider some of these lifestyle tips for teens entering college. They’re tips anyone can use, and ones I wish I had taken more seriously, or even knew about, period.
1. Stop Dieting
First and foremost, one of the biggest lifestyle tips for teens I have is to stop with the dieting. Trust me, diets aren’t important, they aren’t smart, and they’re a waste of your precious energy. You couldn't’ tell my former self this for anything, because entering college, I was pretty sure I needed to look perfect, no matter what. I was having a hard time leaving friends from school, along with losing a boyfriend. I wanted to fit in, and losing weight just seemed like the best way to do that. I made detrimental choices to my health, and in return, spent the next three years miserable during a time I should have enjoyed. Stop dieting and instead, just eat smart. Truly, it’s so much easier than you think, and it’s not about what diet your favorite celebrity is currently on. Taking care of your metabolism by eating whole, nutritious foods is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t count your calories, but instead, count the quality of your foods.
Along with not dieting, you should also start exercising. It’s easy to party in college, which I never did, but was always asked to, and avoiding exercise just becomes an easy habit to avoid. After all, you’ve got studying to do, and exercises just takes a back seat. Start doing small things, however you can. This helps prevent depression, can help you have more energy during the day, and also help you develop healthy habits now, for when you enter your 20s. Walking, jogging, lifting weights, yoga, Pilates, or your favorite sport are all great exercises to start enjoying. You’ll naturally have a healthier metabolism, a glow to your skin, and be able to rest better at night.
3. Stay Away from Booze
I know you might think I’m crazy here, since college is about partying, right? WRONG. Booze is the worst thing you can do for your health, mind and body. It also sets you up to gain an addiction, or have drinking as a crutch, along with unhealthy habits. Alcohol is also known to cause depression more in people than in people who avoid it. It acts as a downer, which lowers your mood and your sense of happiness. It might not make you popular, but trust me, in a few years, you won’t care, and you’ll thank me for it. Choosing not to drink was something that was important to me, along with choosing not to smoke. I never did both, and you know what? I was never outlawed because of it! People can accept you or not accept you, but drinking and smoking won’t improve your life, or your health.
4. Don’t Put Yourself in Harm’s Way
It’s so easy to be reckless during your 20s, primarily with your safety. I cringe at how I used to go to social events and leave by myself at night, making myself an easy target to get mugged or worse. Practice safety, whatever you do. If that sounds corny, so be it, but it truly is important. You should also never invite a guy over to your dorm or apartment that you don’t know well or trust, if you’re by yourself, and be careful what crowds you hang around with. Being careful is better than suffering a harmful event that changes your life forever.
5. Get a Job
Whether you’ve ever had a job or not, you need to learn to work in college. I’m not trying to parent you here, but learning to manage your money is important. I started working at age 15 and paid for everything I ever bought. I didn’t have all the best things in college like other girls, but I did buy my own clothes, food, and even when I moved back home, I did the same. I paid for my cars, the payments, and the insurance. It’s not fun, but you’re going to have to do it in a few years anyway. And when you do apply for jobs in your 20s, you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the applicants who never held a job. Don’t assume college means you’ll get a job after graduation. Future employees like to see some work history, regardless of how much money you come from, or how you’ve never had to work before. In fact, work history is more important to them than grades ever will be.
6. Get Involved
Getting involved in different groups is a great thing to do as you prepare for college, so long as they’re groups that are healthy for you to be around. Leadership groups, sports teams, positive groups of friends, and even gym buddies, church groups, and other activity groups are a great way to meet new people and keep yourself from being isolated. You shouldn’t overdo it, since that can lead to burnout, or becoming so active that you avoid getting good grades, but being involved exposes you to new things, and keeps you active. Don’t live college life in your dorms, or at parties all the time. Get involved in healthy, beneficial activities and make the most of the time, while you can.
7. Be Smart with Your Grades
Geez, I probably really sound like your parent here, but I promise, this is the truth. College is not cheap, and even if you go free of charge, don’t waste your time while you’re there. You don’t have to be a book worm to get good grades either. Just be smart. Don’t sleep in class, study and don’t skip class. If you can do those three things, you’ll leave college with better grades than not doing those things. And when you get out of college with a great GPA, or even a decent one, your resume will look better to employers who see you put effort into college, rather than just wasting your time. You don’t have to have perfect grades, but do make an effort, however you can.
8. Get Enough Rest
Now here’s something I was not good at. I stayed up late on the phone, chatting with friends, studying, or out at social events, even though I didn’t drink. The next morning, I’d get up early and hurry to class, dead tired from not enough sleep. Before I knew it, my appetite suffered, I set myself up for depression, I gained weight, and I was stressed. I also looked bad too, and I couldn’t focus in class .Make yourself get at least 7 hours. Trust me, you’ll be 10 steps ahead of all your buddies, and they’ll wish they had as much energy as you!
9. Spend Smart
Lastly,whether you have a job, or a stipend during college, spend your money smart. Don’t waste it on booze, drugs, unhealthy food, or even shopping. Be smart with your money, which I never was. Try to save something, of whatever you make, and as hokey as it might sound, pay your bills and pay for your own things. You’ll suffer less sticker shock when you have to do this later as an adult and you’ll be much better at it then too, when it matters most.
Certain lifestyle tips for teens can make all the difference in your health, weight, mood, and your life. These aren’t just things your parents tell you because they’re trying to bore you to death, or boss you around. They’re really true! Take it from a girl who’s been there, and not so long ago. I don’t even have kids myself, but I can tell you, if I did, I’d tell them the same thing. What’s a healthy lifestyle tip you have for teens?