Tips for Staying Healthy at Boarding School
One of the greatest benefits of boarding school is the increased independence and self-discipline that students cultivate. Away from the daily guidance of their parents, many students mature quickly in both their academic and personal lives. However, boarding school also comes with its own challenges, including developing healthy habits that students can carry into adulthood. As a top private school in the Northeast, Wilbraham & Monson Academy is here to share our top tips for staying healthy while at boarding school and beyond!
Follow Proper Hygiene Practices
Creating and maintaining healthy hygiene habits will help to improve your immunity and prevent you from getting sick. Start by washing your hands frequently, including before eating, after entering public places and after interacting with other people. Use soap and water often or apply hand sanitizer to eliminate any bacteria on your hands. Practicing proper hygiene will help reduce your risk of catching an illness like seasonal flu or COVID-19.
In addition to encouraging regular hand washing and sanitization, Wilbraham & Monson Academy's COVID-19 precautions include social distancing and wearing a face covering at all times in public places.
Avoiding unnecessary exposure to illnesses is an effective way to stay healthy year-round — but of course, it's not exactly easy to escape an invisible disease. Staying tuned in to your health and that of those around you will help you contribute to maintaining our community's health in boarding school.
If you feel any symptoms of illness, visit our on-campus Health Services staff to receive care. Let your teachers know instead of going to class or other school events. Encourage your friends to do the same, and together we can maintain a healthy, thriving community.
Proper nutrition is where it all begins. While there are many elements to living a healthy lifestyle, eating right is one of the core ways to nourish your body and mind. A nutritious diet can keep you alert, help you stay active and boost your immunity to lessen your chance of catching an illness. Unlike home, where your parents may place nutritious meals in front of you every morning and evening, boarding school requires you to make your own culinary choices.
Important nutrition tips for boarding school students include following a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruit and protein. Students should also consider how many calories and energy they need to flourish in their studies and extracurricular activities. At Wilbraham & Monson Academy, students have the advantage of a dining hall that offers nutritious options and Health Services that teach them the importance of healthy decision-making.
Our bodies are meant to be moved, stretched and challenged. Students can get their heart rates up and muscles moving through year-round sports programs — or, for those not drawn to athletic programs, there are opportunities to get creative with their exercise. If you're wondering how to stay in shape while at boarding school, consider these ideas:
· Join a sports team: Whether you love exploring the outdoors or thrive on a competitive team, there's likely an athletic opportunity for you. Organized sports are a fantastic way to get regular exercise, strengthen your body and enjoy a mentally stimulating experience.
· Visit the gym: Wilbraham & Monson Academy offers a gym on campus, and we encourage you to make the workout of your choice a consistent part of your schedule. Our school fitness center is free for students and open during the academic day as well as in the evening, allowing you to incorporate a workout into a busy day.
· Discover your area: Walk around campus, take hikes through nature or join an adult-led weekend excursion into town. Cultivate a curiosity about the world around you while keeping your body moving.
Positive social interaction is one of the most important ways to foster both physical and emotional health. Friendships are essential for learning how to communicate, collaborate and connect with those around you. They also serve as a vital support system throughout life, helping students cope with stress and process their emotions.
Fortunately, boarding school offers plenty of opportunities to interact and bond with your peers. When it comes to mental health tips for boarding school students, we recommend finding a school and personal life balance. This should include extracurricular activities such as clubs and groups, and intentional time set aside for pursuing hobbies and fun weekend activities with friends. Be sure to balance a socially engaged lifestyle with a focus on health and safety to avoid getting ill. Abide by social distancing practices and wash your hands after interacting in public spaces.
The academic rigor and thriving extracurricular programs of a boarding school can lead to stress and internal pressure to excel. Among the most crucial health tips is finding practical ways to reduce stress. These look a little different for each individual but may include strategies such as:
· Regular exercise
· Participation in an engaging club or activity
· An organized schedule that deals diligently with deadlines
· Scheduled time for hobbies and personal space
· Time spent in the outdoors or off-campus
· A strict sleeping schedule
· Guidance from professional Health Services staff
· Specialized tutoring to reduce academic-related stress
As any boarding school student recognizes, there are plenty of pitfalls that arise thanks to newfound independence. Temptations may abound in the form of soda, late-night snacking and junk food. It can also be enticing to stay up late and lose valuable sleep. As you prepare to enter boarding school, identify any unhealthy habits that are likely to become pitfalls for you. Plan for ways to overcome or avoid these. This may mean giving yourself a bedtime, limiting soda to the weekends or giving yourself a snack time cutoff.
Check Out Our Health and Wellness Program
At Wilbraham & Monson Academy, our Health Services staff is here to help you figure out how to stay healthy at school and make the best decisions for yourself. This includes a Health and Wellness program that encourages students to develop positive holistic habits that are unique to their needs and goals. Learn more about our program, and the staff that makes it possible, on our health and wellness page.