How to Stay Healthy in a Dorm

Some colleges are going online-only this year, but others are forging ahead with in-person classes and on-campus living.

If you or your child are planning to move into a dorm this fall or spring, you’ll definitely want to put health at the top of the to-do list. Close quarters and high stress encourage the spread of disease, and those in communal living situations need to be extra careful about their routines.

Keep it Clean!

College is a time of new people and experiences, and COVID-19 doesn’t have to completely put an end to that. Be vigilant about washing your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid handshakes, high fives, and hugs whenever you can. Wipe down daily-used items like laptops, textbooks, headphones, and cell phones, and launder masks regularly. Make your dorm room a no-shoes zone to avoid tracking in bacteria or even good old-fashioned dirt. College students may not traditionally be known as the cleanest of creatures, but maybe now is the time to change that stereotype.

Nourish your body

Late-night study sessions often come with caffeine, pizza, and other unhealthy but delicious snacks. The dorm’s dining hall can tempt with grab-and-go junk food. And no access to your own kitchen means fewer opportunities to cook up healthy meals. Despite all this, it’s important to fuel your body with food and drink that’s good for it. Healthy nutrition keeps your immune system strong and more able to defend against everything from coronavirus to the common cold. Though it’s not quite as fun, reach for fruit when you’re running out the door and choose water over soda and juice. Small changes like this make a big impact in how well your body operates.

Calm your mind

We get it — going to college is a lot. Add in the uncertain atmosphere we’re currently living in and suddenly the milestone of moving into a dorm and starting your adult life is even more fraught. So keep in touch with your emotional and mental wellbeing, and seek different ways to find inner peace. For some, this might mean meditating or jotting down thoughts in a journal. For others it’s working through anxiety at the gym or on a sports field. Maybe it’s even just finding pockets of time to color or craft, listen to a podcast, or take a quiet walk. Don’t forget that colleges have mental health resources as well, and sometimes all it takes to keep your stress level down and your immunity up is talking to someone qualified.

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