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Healthy Hostel Living

Hostel life, something that most of us have experienced, or wish to experience one day, is probably the biggest push towards becoming an independent, self-sufficient individual. From getting one’s work done to handling day-to-day chores that one doesn’t indulge in at home, to managing expenses as well as standing in long queues to get some paperwork done, all the while trying to catch all the little happy moments that one day would be cherished as bygone memories, living on one’s own is not an easy task. Through all of this extremely packed schedule, one doesn’t really find the time to take care of themselves. As hostellers, we look for easy alternatives to everything, as we’re so burnt out by the end of the day! 

It is easier to just buy packaged fruit juices than go grocery shopping to buy whole fruits and then cut them up to eat them. And who has time for exercise, we’re already exercising our brains (and also too tired to get up). A pamper session is right out! One would rather devour 3 packets of potato chips and a bottle of some nasty cold drink because that brings true comfort.

It is hard living on one’s own. But trust me, when you’ll get older and wiser, you’ll realise that there was always time to sit back and relax. The only thing you needed was to change a few bad habits and turn this crazy life into a little less crazy life. But you don’t have to wait to get older and wiser to understand this. You can start now and start small, incorporating some healthy lifestyle changes to achieve a perfect hostel life-comfort life balance!


1. Maintain a proper sleep schedule

This is probably the most important as well as the most difficult thing to achieve. It’s half the battle towards the glories of comfort. Living in hostels, we tend to sleep late, whether it’s because of pending work, or if there is a birthday party from midnight to dawn. And then this leads to waking up late, or at best, groggily. We mess up our biological clock by not listening to its ticking. Ultimately, it gives in and the body doesn’t get much downtime at all. 

A lot of people say that they are night owls and cannot function during the day. I find it to be quite untrue. When most people visit their homes for a few days, they feel refreshed, and that’s mostly because they sleep and wake up on time. But when they get back, they fall into the same cycle of “being a night owl”. This can be easily solved if one decides to sleep early and wake up early. I won’t tell you how, because frankly, none of the methods works unless one is determined to change for the better. But I can give you one tip: try to maintain a healthy sleep schedule for 21 days. Just 21 days. And then you will have automatically developed this great habit! And oh! How many great advantages to your hostel life would soon appear! You will have more time on your hands and you will end up getting all your work done and will still have the time to make yourself some tea, or watch a movie that’s been on your ‘watch-later’ for months!

Half of the battle is now won. On to the next half.


2. To-do list

Sometimes, you have too much on your plate that you lose track of what you’re supposed to do and when. Here, to-do lists prove to be beneficial. You can make two such lists. A daily, and a monthly. A daily checklist can be made the night before or on the morning of the proposed day. It will include all the tasks that you have to do on that day, no matter what. Make sure to add recreational activities at the end as well, so that you can motivate yourself to get your work done.

A monthly to-do list must be made a few days before the beginning of the new month. This list would act as a long-term goal list and you can add all things you wish to achieve by the end of the month. This will then also help you to keep track of your daily checklists so you can decide your goals for a particular day. Ah! The amazing feeling one gets after crossing off an item on the checklist is indescribable…mostly because very few people make these lists in the first place. But I assure you, you will be so organised in your work if you follow this method! This would also help you in achieving peace of mind when you see your tasks being accomplished, and you won’t be able to wait to make the next monthly checklist.


3. Always walk after your meals

I get it, exercising is a tiresome task that no one looks forward to. Especially when you already have to take care of so much! It is difficult to find the time to incorporate it into the daily schedule, and even more difficult to find the motivation. An easier, more sustainable alternative is to walk after every meal. It could be for 15-30 minutes or even an hour. It’s much easier to do because you can perform various tasks while walking. It could be calling your parents, reading a book, or trying to think of new ideas. Anything! This would also improve your gut health and freshen up your mind. 

But I still suggest one to work out at least 3 times a week as physical activity is very important, and hostellers lead quite a quiescent life in that respect. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a piece of cake!


4. Stack up on fruits every week

It’s a boring chore to go grocery shopping. That’s why most of us do not buy fruits and vegetables and find it easier to order unhealthy food online. Hostel food itself isn’t as healthy or sanitary, and we remain devoid of so many essential nutrients that are required for the proper functioning of the body, especially the brain, as well as strength.

Thankfully, there are many online grocery stores that deliver fresh fruits and veggies to your doorstep. If you don’t have an online store that delivers in your area, you can go weekly shopping in the market. You can even walk to the store as part of your daily walks! Try to buy a sufficient amount of fruits that you will eat and not leave them to rot. You’ll feel healthier and a lot stronger and will be able to efficiently complete your tasks. 

We’re all looking for time as well as efficiency and all these methods are the doors! Ultimately, you’ll find enough time and energy left to pamper yourself and enjoy your days in hostel!


5. Everyone deserves downtime

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we’re just not in the right headspace to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There’s a lot of work pressure, as well as homesickness when one lives on their own. We also end up falling ill at times and don’t have the energy to do anything at all. It’s okay to take some rest, doing nothing for a day or two. You can always get back to your work later. First is your physical and mental well being, always. 

Until you feel you can stand up once again to face the world, sit back and relax. Read a book, order your favourite meal, call up your loved ones, and get some sleep. Try and stay away from anything that makes you feel sad or uncomfortable. In no time, you’ll be back to your best self!


So, these were some tips for healthy hostel life. It’s a life filled with so much all at once, but I promise you, you’ll miss it and will want to do it all over again if you could! Enjoy the big moments as well as the tiny ones. It’s a life of learning, growing and becoming the person you want to be. It’s beautiful. 

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Aleena Fatima

Aleena Fatima

Aleena Fatima hails from Lucknow, and is currently in the final year of her B. Sc. from Aligarh Muslim University. She has an inquisitive approach to life, always trying to find out “the reason why”. In her free time, you’ll find her singing, reading classic novels, or cooking up a delicious meal for her family.

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