Dos and don'ts: maintaining a healthy graduate lifestyle
At University you seem to be either one or the other. Either halfway to alcoholism with a diet that heavily features pizza, or a sports star who splits time between the library and the gym. Post-graduation, things can become a bit blurred, as you struggle to negotiate life with salaries instead of grades. Getting a graduate job is a fantastic achievement, but be careful not to fall into unhealthy traps associated with the life of a young professional.
DON’T think that your busy schedule leaves no room for a healthy lifestyle. If your new job takes you from the tube to a desk and back again then you need to find ways to inject fitness into your day. Give yourself a goal for the next year (London marathon, anyone?) and put gym sessions into your diary to ensure you don’t skip it.
DO sit up straight. We are all guilty of rolling our shoulders and letting our spines slump, but poor posture can be seriously detrimental. Why not try a stability ball? Sitting on a ball requires small muscle adjustments, resulting in a stronger core. So better abs and a cool chair – it’s a win-win!
DON’T snack at your desk. It can be tempting to buy a pack of Hobnobs and munch through them mindlessly as you work. It might have been acceptable while you were frantically trying to get your dissertation perfected, but you need to leave those habits behind. Set times for meals and bring in heathy snacks (homemade smoothies, carrots and hummus, unsalted nuts) to avoid getting a middle-aged spread twenty years early.
DO try cycling if you think you can’t squeeze exercise in anywhere else. Cycling in London might seem daunting, but the capital is slowly becoming more of a cycle hub. The health benefits are astounding, and a rush of fresh air early in the morning is bound to make you more awake and more productive during the day.
DON’T forget to drink water. This is essential and self-explanatory. Keep on top of hydration and get your 2 litres in every day. No excuses!
DO stretch your legs. Go for a walk at lunch and get some vitamin D into your day. Finding a nearby park can help clear your mind and give you a bit of a breather. Walk around while talking on the phone at work and do some hip flexor stretches while you are at it – you might look a bit weird (really weird), but it’s worth it.
DON’T crumble under stress. This one is important and often overlooked. The transfer from full-time student to full-time graduate job is trickier than most people anticipate. While final year is definitely a contender for the most stressed you will ever be, don’t forget to watch out for overloading yourself at your new job. If you find yourself struggling, it’s OK! Talk to a friend, a colleague or your boss. Everyone has ups and downs at work, and you’ll pull through. Above all, focus on enjoying your new life.
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