Staying healthy while studying from home

Budget constraints? Never-ending deadlines? Lack of time? Yep, I know the feeling.

It can be really easy to neglect your health when everything else in the world - including the latest Netflix series - can easily take precedence. With all of the classes, studying, assessments and keeping up with our virtual social lives, making time to focus on our health can often fall on the backburner.

So how can we maintain our health and wellbeing when good old ‘Rona’ has wreaked so much havoc on our lives? Here are some of my top tips:

Meals on a budget

How many times have you ordered takeaway since university went online? If cooking isn’t high on the motivation list and you’re feeling a little light in the hip pocket like most of us, here are some cheap and easy meals you can whip up in a flash without breaking the bank!

  • Smoothies

Half a kilo of frozen fruit will set you back a mere $4 from Woolies. Kmart sells on-the-go drink bottle blenders for around $16. Pour some fruit, yoghurt, milk, spinach, protein powder and anything you like into the blender, quickly whiz it up and you have a liquid meal full of nutrients to kick start your day, even if you are feeling a little bit lazy in the morning!

  • Slow things down

A decent 5L Kmart slow cooker will only set you back $19 (or a fancier version with a timer for $39), and the possibilities are endless. You can find an amazing number of recipes online - from pulled pork to stir fry, curry to meatballs and slow-cooked fish that can be made in bulk on a budget.

Most slow cooker recipes require 6-8 hours of cooking so you can set it first thing in the morning (whilst drinking your smoothie) and boom – all of your lunches sorted for the week! My personal slow cooker favorites are roast lamb, pulled pork and honey soy chicken which all make a minimum of 6 meals for me. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the longer I’m stuck at home the lazier I’m getting, so for me making bulk meals which don’t take much effort is key. Best part – no preparation required! Most foods and meat go into the cooker WHOLE, which means no cutting up and zero time wasted for you so you can get started on that assignment (that you hadn’t been putting off at all).

Fitting in fitness

When coupled with a poor diet, lack of movement during your study years can affect more than just your physical fitness. I know I’m not alone when I say that moving my body helps my mindset, decreases my stress levels and improves my mood, even on the more stressful occasions that occur all too often during semester. Finding 30 minutes to move is only 2% of your day and you will reap all the benefits. Here’s some ways to do just that without a gym!

  • Go for a walk

At the moment a lot of us are stuck inside indefinitely with uni being online and many working from home. Take any opportunity to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and get some steps in. The change of scenery will also do wonders for your mindset! I love to walk down to my local dog park because nothing makes me happier than watching the pups run around with not a care in the world. Go down to the water, find a bike path, anything that you fancy. Just remember your social distancing rules!

  • Spend a few minutes stretching in the morning

Spending a few minutes getting your joints moving in the morning has shown to be very beneficial for both your mind and your body. There are many free YouTube videos to follow, and most only go for around five to ten minutes. Google “5 minute morning mobility” and see what you find! Online yoga is also a great way to wake up your body if this is more your style.

  • Workout at home

Try setting a repeating one-hour timer on your phone and go for a five-minute walk around the house (or better, outside) each time it goes off. Or, if timers aren’t your thing, get up and move every time you finish a paragraph of your essay or finish a module in your study.

Every bit of movement counts.

A little is better than none at all! Even something as simple as moving your rubbish bin over to the other side of the room so that you have to get up to throw something out will get you up and out of that chair (no, this doesn’t mean throwing your scrunched up paper balls on the floor beside your seat!). Since I’ve started working from home, I have also purchased a swiss ball that I have swapped out for a chair which triggers me to engage my core and get just a little bit more movement in my day.

Alternatively, there are many free apps and YouTube videos which provide at-home workouts that require at most a chair, floor space and a filled water bottle to use as a weight. You’d be surprised at the workouts you can get that feel just as invigorating as being at the gym or in a spin class!

  • Last, but most importantly - SLEEP

Pulling more all-nighters than naps? Got more time for Netflix and chill? If you want to avoid fatigue, headaches, weight gain and reduced brain function - you might want to start getting a few more zzzs each day. Not only will you feel more alive, you'll also be much more productive and getting those assignments done faster leaving you more time to relax.         

If you learn anything from this blog it should be that SMALL changes make BIG differences.

Try new things and see what works but most importantly, find things to do that you enjoy. Add a small amount of movement each week and find convenient and healthy ways to eat that won’t break the bank. You’ll be glad you did!

Q&A:

What inspired you to study BENS?

I have a deep love for the field in which I have found myself in today. The growing conversation around the impact of food on not only physical health but its profound effect on our mentality is something I am more and more in awe of the more research I dip my finger into (evidence-based, of course!). Working with hundreds of people each day in my current roles, it is amazing to see these changes effect lives first-hand. In a previous life I worked as a qualified Electrical Engineer, and to this day retain my Management and IT skills by implementing this expertise across all roles I encounter.

How do you stay healthy and active?

Between study, work and multiple other commitments, time is such a limitation for me. However, I know that I feel and operate at my best when I exercise, so I ensure that this is a priority when I am planning out my week. Whether it be in the gym or out playing golf with my partner, I make sure I schedule (physically write down) exercise in my calendar. Movement is my version of coffee!

What is your favourite healthy snack?

I have just discovered the Kmart airfryer. Make a pizza (or three) out of an English muffin, spinach, roast chicken, cheese and your favourite sauce (oh and don’t forget the pineapple), cook in the airfryer for five minutes at 200deg and that’s it. Delicious, simple, homemade mini pizzas in less than ten minutes. Convenient and high volume snacks are key for me!

About me:

Being a lover of excitement in life, I am currently Area Manager for an Australian 24-hour gym chain, Sports Nutritionist for the NRLW Brisbane Broncos and taking on my tenth year of ongoing education at UQ with both a Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) under my belt. Some might say I’m a perpetual student – I say no education is ever wasted!

Last updated:
22 April 2020