How to avoid health problems being a busy student

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Most students experience significant amounts of stress, and this stress can take a significant toll on health, happiness, and grades. For example, a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that teens report stress levels similar to that of adults.

That means teens are experiencing significant levels of chronic stress, and that they feel their levels of stress generally exceed their ability to cope effectively. Roughly 30% report feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or sad because of it.  

Stress can affect health-related behaviors like sleep patterns, diet, and exercise as well, taking a larger toll. Given that nearly half of APA survey respondents reported completing three hours of homework per night in addition to their full day of school work and extracurriculars, this is understandable.

Common Causes of Student Stress

Another study found that much of high school students’ stress originates from school and activities, and that this chronic stress can persist into college years and lead to academic disengagement and mental health problems.   Common sources of student stress include:

  • School
  • Homework
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Social challenges
  • Transitions (e.g., graduating, moving out, living independently)
  • Relationships
  • Work

High school students face the intense competitiveness of taking challenging courses, amassing impressive extracurriculars, studying and acing college placement tests, and deciding important and life-changing plans for their future. At the same time, they have to navigate the social challenges inherent to the high school experience.

If college is part of a teen’s plans, once they are accepted, the stress continues as they need to make new friends, handle a more challenging workload, be without parental support in many instances, and navigate the stresses that come with more independent living. Romantic relationships always add an extra layer of potential stress.

Many students feel a sense of needing to relieve stress, but with all of the activities and responsibilities that fill a student’s schedule, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to try new stress relievers to help dissipate that stress. These options are relatively easy, quick, and relevant to a student’s life and types of stress.

Get Enough Sleep

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Blend Images – Hill Street Studios / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Students, with their packed schedules, are notorious for missing sleep. Unfortunately, operating in a sleep-deprived state puts you at a distinct disadvantage. You’re less productive, you may find it more difficult to learn, and you may even be a hazard behind the wheel.

Don’t neglect your sleep schedule. Aim to get at least 8 hours a night and take power naps when you need them.

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

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It is a stunning and unfortunate truth that college students today face a wide variety of physical and mental health challenges that are so severe that they are now considered to be a public health issue. These challenges impact physical, mental, and emotional health. College student health and stress concerns a range from food insecurity to sexual assault. These dangers are difficult for any student to face no matter what their situation is, however, students who work on top of going to school may be at greater risk.

Because they have more strenuous schedules and demands on their time, working students may find it difficult to stay on top of their physical and mental well-being or to successfully manage stress factors. The results of this can include such disturbing issues as increased drug and alcohol use, hospitalizations for mental health issues, increased risk for minor illnesses becoming true health crises, dropping out of school, weight gain, suicide attempts, and more.

If you are, or if you know a working student, take a moment to review the following tips. Following them, especially when life is most strenuous, is extremely important. Because we know that time, money, energy levels, and stress can make it impossible to be perfect, each point includes a bit of a shortcut advice for those who are unable to make big changes.

Remember That Food Is Fuel

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

Sadly, many students only become concerned with the food that they eat when it begins impacting their waistline. While this isn’t a bad thing, weight management is important after all, it does demonstrate how eating right is often neglected. This is too bad, because proper nutrition impacts physical health, academic performance, and there are important associations between food and comfort and overall well-being. Check out these tips for keeping a healthy diet.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables can be cut up and kept in the fridge for snacking with hummus, salsa, or other healthy dips
  • Salads can be purchased at local grocery stores and delis
  • Yogurt, cheese sticks, and hard boiled eggs are convenient options for keeping full and meeting daily protein and dairy requirements
  • Lentils, rice, oatmeal, beans and other similar items can be bought in bulk, are extraordinarily inexpensive, nutritious, and extremely versatile.
  • One rotisserie chicken purchased at your grocery store can be used to add protein to salads, add meat and heft to casseroles, act as the protein element in several sandwiches, and the carcass can be used for soup.

Maybe your energy levels are too low, or your stress levels are too high for you to implement the suggestions above. Maybe you don’t have funds or access to make ideal food decisions. That’s okay! You still deserve to be as healthy as possible:

  • Hunger is a scary thing, but there are people who want to help.
    • Check local food banks.
    • See if your school has a soup kitchen for students.
    • Look for discount grocers in your area such as Aldi or Save-a-Lot.
    • Consider applying for food stamps.
  • If you are broke and too overwhelmed to cook, consider these convenience tips:
    • While not ideal, there are frozen dinners that are organic, GMO-free and relatively healthy.
    • A cheap meal, such as ramen, can be made more complete and healthy with the simple addition of a half a cup of frozen vegetables, boiled in the water with the noodles.
    • The microwave can be used to steam frozen vegetables, bake sweet potatoes, or make healthy versions of whole wheat pizzas.

Recognize And Get Help For Any Mental Health Issues That You Face

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

Let’s get this out of the way right now. If you are feeling disconnected, anxious, scared, sad, paranoid, angry, or alone, please understand that you are not being dramatic. You are not seeking attention. You are not lacking in self-discipline.

Any resource about health tips for college students should include mental health resources. For a wide variety of reasons, the college years are high risk for students who might deal with mental health issues that are either situational or clinical. Managing stress at this point is particularly important because the combination of stress and mental illness, can quite frankly, be deadly.

If you have mental health concerns please consider:

  • Setting an appointment with a mental health expert.
  • Asking your parent to set you up with counseling via their company’s EAP program.
  • Discussing your options with your primary care provider.

If you are really struggling, either with your disease, time or finances, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Learn what you need to do when it comes to self-care.
  • Let supportive friends and family know when you need help.
  • Look into on-campus support groups.
  • Consider going to a sliding scale clinic that deals with mental health issues.

Take It Easy And Know When You Are Overindulging When It Comes To Partying

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

There is nothing wrong with cutting loose, but overdoing it can be a sign that you have gone too far. If you are drinking or smoking, be honest with yourself. Are you having fun, or are you trying to cope? Are you putting yourself or others at risk? Now, let us be even more honest. Use of dangerous drugs such as opiates and amphetamines are at an all-time high on college campuses. If you need help, please avail yourself to the available campus treatment options.

On the other hand, students can truly suffer from mental illness, and be without support. If this is you, please contact a 12-step program. Those are always free, and can be truly educational and safe spaces for students dealing with addiction.

Conclusion

Even if you believe that you are on an emotional upswing, please take care of yourself on campus. Better yet, make taking care of others a true priority. Then, no matter what happens, remember that there is no shame in seeking help. Please use the above tips to help you if you are in a difficult situation, or if you need help navigating the stressors of college education

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

3 Common eLearning Health Issues & Course Design Principles To Ensure Success

When designing eLearning programs, instructors tend to take an impersonal, hands-off approach in regards to their students’ social, mental, and physical well-being. Unfortunately, this can have a severe impact on academic achievement.

In eLearning courses, new students tend to adopt certain behavioral patterns that can lead to negative health issues. Instructors can discourage such behavior by keeping in mind the following:

Isolation Leads To Anxiety & Depression

Online learning is incredibly convenient, but with this benefit come a few drawbacks. Connecting with academic peers, communicating with the instructor, and maintaining a personal social life can become a challenge when all interactions take place remotely.

Recent studies have indicated that individuals who spend an excessive amount of time on electronic devices experience difficulties focusing and internet addiction (which is not formally recognized as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association) that can seriously impact our lives. It can lead to social isolation, ultimately resulting in decreased academic achievement and even mental illnesses such as depression.

How can online educators help learners avoid these potential pitfalls? Teachers must foster a sense of community through collaborative assignments, frequent discussions, and use of technology to facilitate alternative channels of communication.

  • Create regular small assignments that permit students to work together digitally. Regular contact with different peers will create a greater sense of community in a digital environment.
  • In online discussion boards, encourage students to go over course material in virtual study groups. By discussing course material, learners can clear up points of confusion, demonstrate their learning, and retain information more effectively.
  • Software such as video chat platforms and even VR applications can be used to improve communication between peers and with the instructor. This can be especially effective in collaborative projects. Teachers may even opt to hold regular “office hours”, during which students can discuss course material with them in a digital “face to face” environment.

Procrastination Leads To Irregular Sleep

For years now, educators have known that procrastination has been a major problem affecting online courses students. Students tend to wait for the assignment due dates approach before completing coursework, often submitting within an hour of the deadline. Keeping in mind that many instructors set the deadline time at late hours (often at midnight or later), this can result in some unhealthy habits.

Not only does this structure result in less-than-stellar work, but it can also interfere with learners’ sleep schedules. Sleep deprivation leads to a number of negative effects, including poor memory retention, productivity, and learning performance. Research indicates that college students, in general, are getting an inadequate amount of sleep, and sleep deprivation has clear links to poor academic outcomes. In fact, a Harvard study demonstrated that sleep regularity has a direct correlation to GPA.

  • As previously noted on eLearning Industry, there are steps instructors can take to prevent learner procrastination:
  • Your course should be designed in such a way that it doesn’t present distractions to learners. Using cluttered page designs, playing loud background music, or requiring the use of unintuitive software can distract learners and result in an increase in procrastination.
  • Have new students sign a training contract that requires them to stick to a schedule. Work with learners to set realistic milestones and help them design a routine to meet those goals.

If particular students regularly submit assignments very close to the deadline, hold a discussion with them. There’s no need to be confrontational; simply help them understand why they are putting things off. Are there personal issues affecting the students in question, or are there aspects of your assignments that complicate the submission process? This can help you, as an instructor, streamline your course and remove obstacles to student success.

Physical Health Risks From Overusing Computers

In addition to the mental health risks listed above, spending an extended amount of time at a computer can have negative physical effects on your body. Sometimes, as a result of procrastination, new eLearners may find themselves studying and completing assignments for sessions lasting several hours. This behavior can lead to a wide range of health risks, including:

  • Muscle and joint injuries
  • Increased mortality rate associated with excessive sitting
  • Eyestrain from computer use and associated symptoms

These issues can be avoided by employing some of the best practices listed above. If students follow a schedule set in a training contract and hold regular study sessions with peers, “crunch time” shouldn’t be an issue. In addition to these measures, instructors should explicitly set forth best practices as early as possible. Students need to be communicative about obstacles that hinder their ability to complete assignments, or about any other issues that may impact their learning. By doing so, they can avoid the negative health risks associated with computer overuse.

These are a few of the health issues that may affect students in eLearning programs. By adopting sound core design principles, teachers can reduce these risks and ensure greater overall academic success.

Many students have a hectic schedule and often lack time to sit down to have a proper meal. As a student myself, I often rush through meals, eat processed food to save time or even forget about eating. These poor eating habits lead to feeling tired, increase stress and weaken the immune system. Through my own experiences, I learned how to incorporate healthy eating habits with a restless agenda. Here are some tips that you can do to start eating well with a busy life.

How to avoid health problems being a busy student


Tip 1:

Put a reminder in your planner or calendar. If you are the type of person that likes to plan out everything on your agenda, don’t forget to insert time slots to remind yourself to eat a snack or a meal. This note will help you to remember to eat something even if you are busy running around or working on homework. Having a snack break will also help you to take a break and let your brain relax for a moment after long hours of hard work.

Tip 2:

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. People often forget to drink water when they are busy. However, the body needs water to carry out appropriate functions, especially our brain function. When dehydrated, your cognitive function will decline and your brain will not be working efficiently. Carry a reusable water bottle with you all the time and refill it at the water stations around campus. Different applications on the market can remind you to drink water throughout the day.

Tip 3:

Choose the better protein or granola bars. Try not to replace a meal with these bars. The nutrients in the bar are not enough to make your body function well. These bars are more like snacks that offer a quick source of energy when the body is low in energy. When buying energy bars, check the ingredient list to ensure you know familiar with what goes into the bars. My general rule is, if the name sounds too strange, I will not buy it. With some planning, you can make homemade bars to adjust to your own needs and flavors.

How to avoid health problems being a busy studentTip 4:

Pack your own snacks. You can pack fruits, vegetables or nuts to eat during the day. Some snack ideas are apple slices with almond butter, pretzels with hummus or trail mix. You know what goes into your snack when you make or pack it yourself. It will also help you save a substantial amount of money in the long run. Most importantly, snacking throughout the day can also prevent overeating or eating less nutrient dense meals later.

Tip 5:

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

Make healthier choices in restaurants. Many people choose to eat out when they feel like they do not have enough time to cook. Identifying and ordering a more nutritious option in a restaurant is easier than you think. Try to choose dishes that contain mostly vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Consider adding various side dishes to create a balanced meal. Additionally, pay attention to the portion size offered. Restaurants often serve portions that are too much for one person to finish, so you should not feel obligated to finish everything on the plate. To avoid overeating, consider splitting a meal with a friend, ask for a smaller portion or put half of the plate in a to-go box for another time.

This blog post was written by Nutrition Outreach Worker, Lucy Yu

.How to avoid health problems being a busy student

Overcoming Constant Panic and Rush

“I’m too busy to read this!” you say.

Now, don’t worry, it won’t take up much of your time. Five minutes, or maybe three if you skim. “But I can’t,” you say. “I’m running late for a meeting.”

So you rush off, half-walking, half-running, and grab a seat in the meeting room. A few minutes later you realize that you’re double-booked, so you make your apologies and dash off to join a conference call. Your day ahead looks just as hectic so, while you’re on the phone, you reply to emails marked “urgent,” check your calendar, and reply to several instant messages.

Click here to view a transcript of this video.

There’s no let-up even after you arrive home. You somehow juggle cooking a meal, putting the kids to bed, and doing some housework with preparing for a presentation that you’re giving in the morning.

And you do it all again tomorrow.

Does this frantic sense of being always “on the go” seem familiar? If so, you might be suffering from hurry sickness.

In this article, we look at what hurry sickness is, what its consequences are, and how to avoid it.

What Is Hurry Sickness?

Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman coined the term “hurry sickness” after noticing that many of their patients suffered from a “harrying sense of time urgency.” They defined hurry sickness as “a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.”

People with hurry sickness think fast, talk fast, and act fast. They multitask and rush against the clock, feeling pressured to get things done and getting flustered by any sign of a problem. They’re everywhere, too. Professor Richard Jolly of the London Business School recently found that 95 percent of the managers he studied suffer from the condition.

What Causes Hurry Sickness?

You’ll never find a hurry-sick person with an empty diary. Hurry-sick people are conscientious and work hard, but they struggle to acknowledge the limits of what they can take on. Consequently, they habitually commit to more than they have time for.

Also, our 24/7 state of connectedness means that we increasingly suffer from FOMO – fear of missing out – so we’re reluctant to disconnect and slow down. We fret that a deal might fall through if we don’t reply to an enquiry quickly. We worry about how it might look to take time off or to say no to a task. This need to stay available means that hurry-sick people remain constantly “switched on.”

Once we’ve begun this cycle of panic, it’s easy to get used to it, and even to accept it, even though it damages us.

What Are the Consequences of Hurry Sickness?

Being busy is usually seen as a virtue but when busyness tips over into hurry sickness, the consequences can be severe. You lose the ability to stop and think, and you become less effective. Errors creep into your work, you lose sight of the “big picture,” and the quality of your work starts to fall.

Hurry sickness increases your body’s output of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause long-term health problems, such as depression. It can affect your personal relationships, too. “Go-fast” working habits travel home with you, and they can make it difficult to give your best to friends and family. Your mind stays locked in a state of overstimulation, making you tired, anxious and prone to irritability, but unable to relax.

How to Overcome Hurry Sickness

Although it can be difficult to find a way out of the chaos of hurry sickness, it is possible. Make it your goal to work smarter – not harder – by finding strategies that will create lasting change.

Let’s look at three sets of strategies that you can combine to overcome hurry sickness. Some are just common sense, but they’re easy to overlook when you’re living in a state of constant rush.

Warning:

Stress can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, death. While these stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.

Free Stress Toolkit Offer

Get your FREE How to Overcome Stress Toolkit when you join the Mind Tools Club before Midnight, April 29.

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

Related Topics

Adolescents and Young Adults: Getting the Preventive Services You Need

Dangers of Vaping

Teens and Stress: Who Has Time For It?

A person’s overall health is about more than the absence of disease. It’s the state of physical, mental, and social well-being. Ultimately, it’s the key to living a productive and satisfying life.

Path to Improved Health

You can break down the concept of health into different categories. These could include physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. There are things any person can do to stay healthy in these areas. But as a teenager, there are some things you should pay special attention to.

Physical health: Taking care of your body

  • Exercise regularly. Teens should be physically active at least 60 minutes of every day.
  • Eat a healthy diet . Healthy eating is an important part of your growth and development. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein foods, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Children and teenagers with obesity are more likely to have obesity as an adult. They are also at higher risk for other chronic illnesses, depression , and bullying.
  • Get enough sleep. Most teens need between 9 and 9 ½ hours of sleep every night. Many average only 7 hours. Sleep has a strong effect on your ability to concentrate and do well at school.
  • Keep up with vaccinations. Get a flu shot every year. If you haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine , ask your parents and doctor about it. It can prevent you from getting HPV and some kinds of cancer , including cervical cancer.
  • Brush and floss your teeth. Make it a habit now, and prevent tooth and gum problems in adulthood.
  • Wear sunscreen. Getting just one bad sunburn as a child or teenager increases your risk of getting skin cancer as an adult.
  • Don’t listen to loud music. This can damage your hearing for the rest of your life.

Mental health: Taking care of your mind

  • Learn ways to manage stress . You can’t avoid stress, so you need to learn how to manage it. This will help you stay calm and be able to function in stressful situations.
  • Study and do your best in school. There is a strong link between health and academic success.
  • Try to maintain a good relationship with your parents. Remember that they want what is best for you. Try to see where they are coming from when they set rules.
  • Develop a good balance between school, work, and social life.
  • Don’t try to take on too much. Limit your activities to the most important ones and give those 100%. Overextending yourself can lead to stress, frustration, or exhaustion.

Emotional health: Taking care of your feelings

  • Know the signs of mental illness. These include:
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • excessive tiredness
    • loss of self-esteem
    • loss of interest in things you used to like
    • loss of appetite
    • weight gain or loss
    • out-of-character personality changes
  • Pay attention to your moods and feelings. Don’t assume your negative thoughts or feelings are just part of being a teenager. If you’re worried about something, ask for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you can’t talk to your parents, talk to a favorite teacher or counselor at school. Find an adult you can trust. If you’re feeling really sad or are thinking about harming yourself, get help right away.
  • Accept yourself. If you feel like you have low self-esteem or a poor body image, talk to someone about it. Even just talking to a friend can help.
  • Don’t bully other people. And if you are being bullied, tell a parent, teacher, or other adult. This includes being bullied online or on your phone.

Behavioral health: Taking care of your safety through your behaviors

  • Avoid substance use or abuse. This includes alcohol, street drugs, other people’s prescription drugs, and any type of tobacco product.
  • Drive safely. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in U.S. teenagers. Always use your seat belt. Avoid riding in a car full of other teenagers. This can distract the driver and make an accident more likely. Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
  • Wear protective headgear. Wear a helmet when you are riding a bike or participating in sports to prevent concussions. Concussions at a young age can have lifelong negative effects on your health.
  • Avoid violence. Stay away from situations where violence or fighting may cause you to be physically injured.
  • Practice abstinence (no sex) or safe sex. If you have sex, always use condoms to help avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are a sexually active girl, talk to your doctor about contraceptives. If you can’t use contraceptives, use condoms for birth control. Even if you can use contraceptives, these do not prevent STIs; use condoms in addition to other contraceptive methods.

What might my doctor do if I go see him or her?

The doctor might do any of the following to help you stay healthy:

Provide immunizations (shots or vaccines) to reduce your risk of getting diseases. These could include meningitis , tetanus , or HPV.

Things to Consider

Will the habits I have now really make a difference when I’m older?

Yes; 65% of all deaths in adults are caused by heart disease, cancer, and stroke . In many cases, these diseases are preventable. Many of the behaviors that cause these diseases begin at a young age. For example, teens who use tobacco are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, or stroke in adulthood.

At my age, what should I especially be concerned about?

The top killers of teenagers and young adults are car accidents, unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide . Cancer and heart disease are uncommon for teenagers, but can affect you at this age. Unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections can harm your health. They can also cause you social and personal problems.

Do young men have different health risks than young women?

Should I talk to my doctor if I’m worried about my health or my body?

Yes. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your health or your body. Your doctor is there to help you.

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

3 Common eLearning Health Issues & Course Design Principles To Ensure Success

When designing eLearning programs, instructors tend to take an impersonal, hands-off approach in regards to their students’ social, mental, and physical well-being. Unfortunately, this can have a severe impact on academic achievement.

In eLearning courses, new students tend to adopt certain behavioral patterns that can lead to negative health issues. Instructors can discourage such behavior by keeping in mind the following:

Isolation Leads To Anxiety & Depression

Online learning is incredibly convenient, but with this benefit come a few drawbacks. Connecting with academic peers, communicating with the instructor, and maintaining a personal social life can become a challenge when all interactions take place remotely.

Recent studies have indicated that individuals who spend an excessive amount of time on electronic devices experience difficulties focusing and internet addiction (which is not formally recognized as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association) that can seriously impact our lives. It can lead to social isolation, ultimately resulting in decreased academic achievement and even mental illnesses such as depression.

How can online educators help learners avoid these potential pitfalls? Teachers must foster a sense of community through collaborative assignments, frequent discussions, and use of technology to facilitate alternative channels of communication.

  • Create regular small assignments that permit students to work together digitally. Regular contact with different peers will create a greater sense of community in a digital environment.
  • In online discussion boards, encourage students to go over course material in virtual study groups. By discussing course material, learners can clear up points of confusion, demonstrate their learning, and retain information more effectively.
  • Software such as video chat platforms and even VR applications can be used to improve communication between peers and with the instructor. This can be especially effective in collaborative projects. Teachers may even opt to hold regular “office hours”, during which students can discuss course material with them in a digital “face to face” environment.

Procrastination Leads To Irregular Sleep

For years now, educators have known that procrastination has been a major problem affecting online courses students. Students tend to wait for the assignment due dates approach before completing coursework, often submitting within an hour of the deadline. Keeping in mind that many instructors set the deadline time at late hours (often at midnight or later), this can result in some unhealthy habits.

Not only does this structure result in less-than-stellar work, but it can also interfere with learners’ sleep schedules. Sleep deprivation leads to a number of negative effects, including poor memory retention, productivity, and learning performance. Research indicates that college students, in general, are getting an inadequate amount of sleep, and sleep deprivation has clear links to poor academic outcomes. In fact, a Harvard study demonstrated that sleep regularity has a direct correlation to GPA.

  • As previously noted on eLearning Industry, there are steps instructors can take to prevent learner procrastination:
  • Your course should be designed in such a way that it doesn’t present distractions to learners. Using cluttered page designs, playing loud background music, or requiring the use of unintuitive software can distract learners and result in an increase in procrastination.
  • Have new students sign a training contract that requires them to stick to a schedule. Work with learners to set realistic milestones and help them design a routine to meet those goals.

If particular students regularly submit assignments very close to the deadline, hold a discussion with them. There’s no need to be confrontational; simply help them understand why they are putting things off. Are there personal issues affecting the students in question, or are there aspects of your assignments that complicate the submission process? This can help you, as an instructor, streamline your course and remove obstacles to student success.

Physical Health Risks From Overusing Computers

In addition to the mental health risks listed above, spending an extended amount of time at a computer can have negative physical effects on your body. Sometimes, as a result of procrastination, new eLearners may find themselves studying and completing assignments for sessions lasting several hours. This behavior can lead to a wide range of health risks, including:

  • Muscle and joint injuries
  • Increased mortality rate associated with excessive sitting
  • Eyestrain from computer use and associated symptoms

These issues can be avoided by employing some of the best practices listed above. If students follow a schedule set in a training contract and hold regular study sessions with peers, “crunch time” shouldn’t be an issue. In addition to these measures, instructors should explicitly set forth best practices as early as possible. Students need to be communicative about obstacles that hinder their ability to complete assignments, or about any other issues that may impact their learning. By doing so, they can avoid the negative health risks associated with computer overuse.

These are a few of the health issues that may affect students in eLearning programs. By adopting sound core design principles, teachers can reduce these risks and ensure greater overall academic success.

How to avoid health problems being a busy student

A lot of factors play a role in staying healthy. In turn, good health can decrease your risk of developing certain conditions. These include heart disease, stroke , some cancers, and injuries. Learn what you can do to maintain your and your family’s health.

Path to improved health

Eat healthy.

What you eat is closely linked to your health. Balanced nutrition has many benefits. By making healthier food choices, you can prevent or treat some conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A healthy diet can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol , as well.

Get regular exercise.

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer . It can help treat depression , osteoporosis , and high blood pressure. People who exercise also get injured less often. Routine exercise can make you feel better and keep your weight under control. Try to be active for 30 to 60 minutes about 5 times a week. Remember, any amount of exercise is better than none.

Lose weight if you’re overweight.

Many Americans are overweight. Carrying too much weight increases your risk for several health conditions. These include:

Protect your skin.

Sun exposure is linked to skin cancer. This is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It’s best to limit your time spent in the sun. Be sure to wear protective clothing and hats when you are outside. Use sunscreen year-round on exposed skin, like your face and hands. It protects your skin and helps prevent skin cancer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It should be at least an SPF 15. Do not sunbathe or use tanning booths.

Practice safe sex.

Safe sex is good for your emotional and physical health. The safest form of sex is between 2 people who only have sex with each other. Use protection to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are the most effective form of prevention. Talk to your doctor if you need to be tested for STDs.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco.

Smoking and tobacco use are harmful habits. They can cause heart disease and mouth, throat, or lung cancer. They also are leading factors of emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The sooner you quit, the better.

Limit how much alcohol you drink.

Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should have no more than 1 drink a day. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Too much alcohol can damage your liver . It can cause some cancers, such as throat, liver, or pancreas cancer. Alcohol abuse also contributes to deaths from car wrecks, murders, and suicides.

Things to consider

In addition to the factors listed above, you should make time for whole body health. Visit your doctors for regular checkups. This includes your primary doctor, as well as your dentist and eye doctor. Let your health benefits and preventive care services work for you. Make sure you know what your health insurance plan involves. Preventive care can detect disease or prevent illness before they start. This includes certain doctor visits and screenings.

You need to make time for breast health. Breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women. Men can get breast cancer, too. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms. You may need to start screening early if you have risk factors, such as family history. One way to detect breast cancer is to do a monthly self-exam.

Women should get routine pap smears, as well. Women ages 21 to 65 should get tested every 3 years. This may differ if you have certain conditions or have had your cervix removed.

Ask your doctor about other cancer screenings. Adults should get screened for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor may want to check for other types of cancer. This will depend on your risk factors and family history.

Keep a list of current medicines you take. You also should stay up to date on shots, including getting an annual flu shot. Adults need a Td booster every 10 years. Your doctor may substitute it with Tdap. This also protects against whooping cough (pertussis ). Women who are pregnant need the Tdap vaccine . People who are in close contact with babies should get it, as well.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • How many calories should I eat and how often should I exercise to maintain my current weight?
  • Should I have a yearly physical exam?
  • What types of preventive care does my insurance cover?
  • When should I start getting screened for certain cancers and conditions?
  • Which healthy choice is the most important for me?

Resources

Last Updated: August 3, 2020

This article was contributed by familydoctor.org editorial staff.

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Overweight and obesity may raise your risk for certain health problems and may be linked to certain emotional and social problems.

What are some health risks of overweight and obesity?

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. About 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity. 8 Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage, and other health problems.

If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and getting regular physical activity may prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which blood flows through your blood vessels with a force greater than normal. High blood pressure can strain your heart, damage blood vessels, and raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death.

How to avoid health problems being a busy studentOverweight and obesity may raise your risk for certain health problems such as high blood pressure.

Heart disease

Heart disease is a term used to describe several problems that may affect your heart. If you have heart disease, you may have a heart attack, heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina, or an abnormal heart rhythm. High blood pressure, abnormal levels of blood fats, and high blood glucose levels may raise your risk for heart disease. Blood fats, also called blood lipids, include HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight may lower your risk factors for developing heart disease. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing as little as 10 pounds. Weight loss may improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood flow.

Stroke

Stroke is a condition in which the blood supply to your brain is suddenly cut off, caused by a blockage or the bursting of a blood vessel in your brain or neck. A stroke can damage brain tissue and make you unable to speak or move parts of your body. High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you do not breathe regularly while sleeping. You may stop breathing altogether for short periods of time. Untreated sleep apnea may raise your risk of other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. These conditions are

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood glucose levels
  • high triglyceride levels in your blood
  • low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) in your blood
  • too much fat around your waist

Fatty liver diseases

Fatty liver diseases are conditions in which fat builds up in your liver. Fatty liver diseases include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Fatty liver diseases may lead to severe liver damage, cirrhosis, or even liver failure.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common, long-lasting health problem that causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. Being overweight or having obesity may raise your risk of getting osteoarthritis by putting extra pressure on your joints and cartilage.

Gallbladder diseases

Overweight and obesity may raise your risk of getting gallbladder diseases, such as gallstones and cholecystitis. Imbalances in substances that make up bile cause gallstones. Gallstones may form if bile contains too much cholesterol.

Some cancers

Cancer is a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues. Overweight and obesity may raise your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Kidney disease

Kidney disease means that your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should. Obesity raises the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, the most common causes of kidney disease. Even if you don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, obesity itself may promote kidney disease and quicken its progress.

Pregnancy problems

Overweight and obesity raise the risk of health problems that may occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese may have a greater chance of

  • developing gestational diabetes
  • having preeclampsia—high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can cause severe health problems for mother and baby if left untreated
  • needing a cesarean section, or C-section and, as a result, taking longer to recover after giving birth

What emotional and social problems are linked to overweight and obesity?

Overweight and obesity are associated with mental health problems such as depression. People who deal with overweight and obesity may also be the subject of weight bias and stigma from others, including health care providers. This can lead to feelings of rejection, shame, or guilt—further worsening mental health problems.

References

[8] National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html. Updated July 17, 2017. Accessed October 25, 2017.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Jamy D. Ard, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine