100 Essential Health Hacks for Surviving Dorm Life

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March 31st, 2010

College can be a scary place when it comes to staying healthy. Dorm rooms infested with germs, cafeteria food, and viruses running rampant are just a few things that can impact your health on campus. Here, we’ve outlined 100 ways you can help reduce your risk of becoming sick from college.

General

Follow these tips wherever you are on campus.

  1. Stay hydrated: Keep water in your backpack so that you can stay hydrated and alert all day.
  2. Get checkups: Be sure to see your doctor for regular checkups.

Parties & Relationships

Stay safe at parties and in relationships by following these hacks.

  1. Develop friendships: Let off steam and have fun by finding friends.
  2. Don’t go hungry: Eat wholesome on the day of the party so that you don’t make bad food choices.
  3. Avoid second-hand smoke: Second hand smoking is just as harmful as smoking yourself, so stay away from it.
  4. Get active: Get up and dance during parties to fit in some exercise.
  5. Lower your risk for sexual violence: Trust your gut and leave a situation if you don’t feel comfortable.
  6. Use condoms: Use condoms to avoid both pregnancy and STDs.
  7. Have a fire extinguisher nearby: In case of accidental flare-ups, have a fire extinguisher handy.
  8. Don’t drive impaired: Don’t drive after drinking or using drugs.
  9. Keep a first-aid kit: Keep a first aid kit around just in case of injury.
  10. Avoid relationships with heavy drug or drink users: Don’t hang out with people who have a drug or alcohol problem.
  11. Drink only one type of alcohol: Stick to one alcohol to help reduce your hangover risk.
  12. Don’t share drinks: Avoid sharing germs by not sharing cans of beer and other beverages.
  13. Drink in moderation: Drink in moderation, if you drink at all.
  14. Know your limits: Make sure you don’t overstep your drinking limits.
  15. Drink Gatorade: If you drink Gatorade, you can help rehydrate your body.
  16. Plan for recovery time: If you have an important class or exam in the morning, be realistic about how you may feel after partying.
  17. Drink water: Fight hangovers by drinking plenty of water in between drinks.
  18. Drink light liquors: Drinking light liquors can help you avoid a hangover.
  19. Don’t take acetaminophen: Taking acetaminophen with alcohol can be very dangerous, so be sure to avoid it.
  20. Take vitamins: Make sure you’ve replenished your vitamins when you have been drinking.

Dorm Room

Follow these hacks to keep your dorm room clean and healthy.

  1. Throw out trash regularly: Empty your trash a few times a week to avoid attracting bugs or rodents.
  2. Clean your desk: Keep your work space, especially your computer, clean at all times.
  3. Bring your own futon or pad: With your own futon or pad to put on top of your mattress, you can avoid some bacteria, viruses, and dust.
  4. Avoid bedbugs: Avoid used furniture, wash linens in hot water, and use mattress covers to avoid bedbugs.
  5. Sanitize your carpet: Most residence carpets aren’t cleaned often and thoroughly, so take it upon yourself to get it clean.
  6. Wear shoes everywhere: In communal hallways and other areas, be sure to wear your shoes.
  7. Keep perishable foods refrigerated: Don’t store food outside of the refrigerator if it needs to be temperature controlled.
  8. Get a water purifier: Get a water purifier for an efficient, environmentally friendly way to get clean water.
  9. Eat three full meals: Have three full meals to cut down on the desire to snack on sweets and fatty foods.
  10. Drink plenty of water: Most headaches occur because you’re not drinking enough water, so be sure to stay hydrated.
  11. Check sell-by dates: Keep an eye on the sell-by date to make sure you’re eating food that’s still fresh.
  12. Stock your room with healthy food: Keep almonds, fruits, and more in your room for healthy snacks.
  13. When in doubt, don’t eat it!: Throw away food that you suspect has gone bad.
  14. Check nutrition information: Take the time to read nutritional information before you choose what to eat.
  15. Bring your own dishes, pots, and utensils: Most kitchen supplies aren’t cleaned until residents move out-bring your own stuff.
  16. Try different dining hall options: Look into different dining halls and cafes to find your best option.
  17. Eat a protein-filled breakfast: Make it down to the cafeteria for a breakfast of filling protein.
  18. Store food securely: Use a plastic tub to keep food away from rodents and bugs.
  19. Eat great starters: Start your meals with salad or broth-based soup to get your meal begun right.
  20. Don’t eat needless snacks: Don’t snack if you’re not hungry, or you could rack up 500-700 extra calories a day.
  21. Wear shower shoes: Avoid athlete’s foot by wearing flip flops or shower shoes in public showers.
  22. Don’t lay your toothbrush on public surfaces: Avoid the spread of germs by keeping personal toiletries off of public surfaces.
  23. Do laundry regularly: Wearing dirty jeans can expose you to bacteria and infection.
  24. Don’t overload outlets: Avoid using multiple plugs that can overload outlets.
  25. Use multi-outlet devices: Instead of extension cords, use multi-outlet devices with their own contained circuit breaker.
  26. Don’t cover light bulbs: Avoid covering light bulbs with paper, clothing, or other flammable items.
  27. Do not use candles: Most dorms don’t allow them, but avoid using candles in your dorm just in case.

Immunity

With these hacks, you can give your immune system a boost.

  1. Drink lemons: Lemons can help maintain your body’s internal climate to support healthy bacteria.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight: Protect your immunity by keeping a healthy weight.
  3. Get vaccinated: Get vaccinated for meningitis, the flu, and other common college diseases.
  4. Control your blood pressure: By controlling your blood pressure, you can help control your immunity.
  5. Use hand sanitizer: Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer to clean your hands after touching door handles, computers, and desks.
  6. Get your Vitamin C: Vitamin C has incredible immunity boosting effects, so be sure to get it through supplements or fruit and vegetables.
  7. Wash your hands frequently: Keep germs out of your face and body by washing your hands often.
  8. Wipe down shared surfaces: Be sure to wipe down shares surfaces frequently.
  9. Avoid close contact with the sick: If you know someone is sick, be sure to avoid getting too close to them.
  10. Eat healthy: Get your fruits and vegetables to eat the nutrients you need to fight off illness.
  11. Manage stress: Reduce your stress to stay healthy.
  12. Get plenty of sleep: Keep up with your sleep to avoid getting sick.
  13. Avoid crowds when possible: Although you can’t skip class, stay away from large crowds during cold and flu season.

Exercise

Make exercise a priority through these hacks.

  1. Reward yourself: Be self-indulgent to reward yourself for a job well done.
  2. Use variety: Get a variety of different exercises in to work different muscles and stay interested.
  3. Walk to your classes: Many students don’t have a choice, but if your campus offers shuttles, just walk to class instead.
  4. Sign up for a race: Join a marathon as a motivator for exercise.
  5. Do a 30 day challenge: Challenge yourself as part of a group.
  6. Exercise with a friend: Make a commitment to exercise by buddying up.
  7. Join an online group: Become a part of online groups and stay accountable.
  8. Use fitness facilities: Many students have access to excellent fitness facilities on campus-use them!
  9. Keep a journal: Write down your accomplishments to make sure you’re keeping up with your goals.
  10. Take a new exercise class: Find something new and exciting to do that will keep you interested in exercise.
  11. Invest in workout clothes: Get workout clothes that make you comfortable and want to get active.

Sleep

Use these hacks to get the most out of your sleep in college.

  1. Set a regular time for bed: Create a habit by going to bed at a normal time each night.
  2. Limit caffeine: Limit caffeine throughout the day, and don’t drink any 4 to 6 hours before bed.
  3. Wake up at the same time: Wake up at the same time each day to set a daily habit.
  4. Remove mental stimulants: Stop watching TV before bed for a more restful sleep.
  5. Exercise during the day: Exercise during the day to make sure you’re burning enough energy.
  6. Don’t drink before bed: Alcohol before bed can wake you up later in the night.
  7. Take care of problem solving: Solve problems early in the day so you don’t take anxiety to bed.
  8. Guard against distractions: It may not be easy, but do your best to cut down on distractions from your roommate.
  9. Don’t do work in bed: Use your bed only for sleep, and if you’re sexually active, sex.
  10. Don’t eat heavy meals before bed: A light snack may help you sleep, but don’t eat a heavy meal.
  11. Use earplugs if necessary: If you are being kept awake by noises, think about using earplugs.
  12. Hide your clock: Hide your clock to avoid anxiety about what time it is.
  13. Keep your room cool and dark: If you can’t create a cool, dark environment, use a sleep mask.
  14. Don’t sleep thirsty: Don’t drink so much that you’ll need to get up to go to the bathroom, but make sure you’re hydrated before bed.

Stress

Use these hacks to keep stress under control.

  1. Manage your time: If you make a schedule, you may be able to better manage your time.
  2. Learn how to relax: Learn how to trigger a relaxation response in yourself.
  3. Find ways to cope: See what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dealing with stress.
  4. Stand up against overscheduling: If you’re overscheduled, cut back on an activity or two.
  5. Ask for help: Manage your stress better by asking for help.
  6. Watch your thoughts: Stay optimistic to make the best of stressful circumstances.
  7. Exercise to relieve stress: Manage your stress by exercising regularly.
  8. Be realistic: Don’t expect yourself to be perfect.
  9. Release your feelings: Express your feelings when you need to.
  10. Solve little problems: By solving everyday problems, you can regain a sense of control.
  11. Do something you enjoy: Take up a hobby or volunteer for a stress reliever.
  12. Get a good night’s sleep: Be equipped to deal with stress by getting enough sleep at night.
  13. Learn to relax your body: Learn breathing, muscle relaxation, massage, and more for relaxation.

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