Ready or not, here it comes: the end of summer vacation. Back-to-school night. Parent–teacher conferences. Moving back to the dorms.
Going back to school is a major change in routine, and the exposure to dozens of new people — and all of their germs — can take a toll on the immune system. Learn how to stay healthy this year whether you're a parent, student, or teacher.
General Back-to-School Health
Good handwashing habits are crucial for keeping germs away. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before and after preparing food, before eating, and after touching communal surfaces or items like art supplies, drinking fountains, sports and playground equipment, etc. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer works in a pinch, but soap and water will always be best.
Hydration is key for delivering nutrients and eliminating waste from the body. But “hydration” doesn't just mean “drink water” — electrolytes and carbohydrates play an important role too. A sports drink has both, and fruit juice and tea are also great options. Just don't overdo it on the caffeianted sodas or energy drinks.
Getting a good night's sleep is also one of the best things you can do to stay healthy this school season. While you're sleeping, your body has a chance to rest and restore nutrients to key areas. Don't let school or extracurriculars take up too much of your time, and try to snag extra zzz's when you can (afternoon naps aren't just for toddlers!).
You should also do your best to support your immune system with vitamins and minerals. Supplements are great for adults, and a healthy diet can deliver all of the vitamins and minerals that children need. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are a great place to start, and fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and miso can deliver healthy piobiotics.
As the school year draws closer, make sure to get an annual checkup. Children and teens should see their pediatrician and may need additional screenings such as hearing and vision (the school may offer these too). Teachers and college students should also visit their GP for a standard physical to make sure they're at their best before the semester begins.
Staying current on vaccinations is one of the most reliable ways to fight off illnesses, and some schools or districts may require full immunization before enrollment. If you do choose to immunize, try to get any necessary booster shots a couple weeks before school starts in case you need a day or two to recover.
Students, teachers, and families should also mask up and social distance when necessary to prevent the spread of germs. Everyday masks may not be needed or required at your school, but if you're worried about Covid during school, a mask can help. Also, some field-trip destinations may require masks, so keep one with you even if you don't wear it every day.
If you're concerned about germs coming home with you, change your clothes when you get home from school. Whether you're a student or a teacher, this trick can help keep home as germ-free as possible.
Health Tips for Students
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day — especially for kids and young adults whose bodies are still growing. A healthy breakfast with protein and complex carbohydrates gives you the energy you need for the rest of the day. Try an egg sandwich on whole-wheat toast. Add avocado slices for extra healthy fats.
Watch for signs of stress — whether you're a parent or a student yourself, you should be aware of the signs of stress, such as a short temper, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and general school-related anxiety. Stress can impact the immune system, so handling stress in way that's healthy for the mind will be healthy for the body too.
You should also make sure that you or your kids are wearing a backpack properly — lazy backpack use can cause back and shoulder injuries. Always use both shoulder straps so that the big muscles in the abdomen and back can share the load. The straps should be snug so that the pack is high on the back, rather than sagging. Wide, padded backpack straps are more comfortable than thin straps, and if you're hauling around heavy textbooks and a laptop, consider a backpack with a waist strap to distribute weight to the hips instead of the shoulders.
Health Tips for College Students
College students, as independent young adults, face a different set of challenges than K–12 students. These tips may be especially useful for young people navigating school on their own for the first time.
Stick to healthy eating habits. It can be challenging to eat right in a student cafeteria, but try to include fruits and vegetables with every meal and get some variety rather than sticking to your favorite comfort foods.
If you find yourself looking for a productive outlet for stress or anxiety, don't underestimate the power of a good workout. Exercise reduces stress, helps you sleep better, and increases your overall health — all of which can help you fight off illnesses. Find a way to incorporate exercise into the routine you already have: use the campus gym, register for a fitness class, or bike to campus.
College-level courses can be overwhelming, especially when combined with the stress of being on your own for the first time. Make sure to take time for fun. Have a support system of friends in class and out of class — in-class friends can help with studying, and out-of-class friends can help you unwind and take your mind off classes for a bit.
College often brings newfound freedom, including freedom to be sexually active and experiment with different partners. As an adult, your sexual health is your responsibility and can affect more than just yourself. If you are sexually active, make sure to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted illnesses (many colleges have a clinic that offers this service). Communicate honestly — not just with your partner but with your support system too — and use protection such as condoms or dental dams to prevent the spread of STIs.
New independence can take a toll on your mental health, and homesickness, peer pressure, and academic stress are common. Even if you're excited to be on your own, make sure to keep in touch with your support system back home. Utilize campus counseling resources, too — many colleges offer free counseling for students.
Health Tips for Teachers
The tips in this article are useful for just about anybody, but teachers have unique challenges when it comes to staying healthy during the school year. Here are a few things that may help.
Disinfect the classroom frequently to reduce the spread of germs. You can use disposable wipes, paper towels and disinfecting spray, or washcloths and disinfecting spray (but laundry may be a hassle).
Teach healthy habits so your students can help keep the classroom clean. Students can be responsible for wiping down surfaces they use, and you can schedule things like pre-lunch handwashing.
Time is a finite resource when you're a teacher, but do your best to plan meals and healthy snacks ahead of time — when you don't have junk food, you can't reach for it out of habit! Salad kits, slow-cooker meals, and healthy frozen entrees are all great ways to eat right even if you're short on time.
Speaking of time, it can be hard to fit an exercise routine in between teaching classes, grading homework, and planning lessons, but exercise is a key part of health. Weightlifting is a great option because it offers a lot of benefits in a short timespan: decreases abdominal fat, burns calories efficently, and makes you stronger, which reduces the risk of injury. And give yourself credit for the time you spend walking around your classroom or between different buildings on campus — you might already be exercising and not realizing it!
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. A mindfulness or medidation practice can reduce stress and help you relax, both of which can lead to better sleep (which, as we know, is crucial for immune health).
It can be easy to feel like school is your entire life, but make time for yourself whenever you can. Spend time with friends your own age and find an activity you enjoy that's entirely student-free. Your personal time is just as important as your teaching time.
HempLucid Is Here to Help
At HempLucid, we want to give back whenever we can and help as many people as possible experience the benefits of CBD. That's why we offer discounts to both teachers and students. Teachers from pre-K through college/university are eligible for 20% off, as are college or university students in the United States and United Kingdom.
If you're not sure which products to start with, our Immune Stacks can offer valuable support for the immune system, and our Water Soluble CBN may help you get the sleep you need to stay healthy.
We hope you're excited for the school year ahead, and we hope that some of the tips in this article help you feel more confident about staying healthy this semester!
Disclaimer: The information in this article is presented purely for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any condition. As always, consult your doctor before introducing a new supplement to your routine.
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14 Benefits of Strength Training; Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD, CPT; Healthline; accessed July 2022
7 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy During the School Year; Katherine Lee; Very Well Family; accessed July 2022
101 Health and Wellness Tips for College Students; Rutgers University; accessed July 2022
12 Tips on How Teachers Can Stay Healthy; INcompassing Education; accessed July 2022
The importance of hydration; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; accessed July 2022