Life @ U of T

Staying Healthy While Living on Residence

Living on residence is unlike any other experience I’ve had— you’re surrounded by people at all times, you’re likely eating from a dining hall, and you’re dealing with lots of school work on top of that. In first year university, I lived on residence and found that looking after my body and my needs was key for my physical and mental health.  The view from a Victoria College residence window First of all, dining halls can be tricky. My dining hall, Burwash Hall at Victoria College, was buffet style and required you to eat a few large meals per day. Because of this, eating a lot of unhealthy food at once was super tempting.  So, I tried two different strategies. For the first half of the year, I ate everything I wanted to at Burwash, but made sure I didn’t eat an excessive amount of food.  In the second half of the year I started eating vegan— this changed my approach to dining hall eating, because the things that were vegan were a lot healthier. So, I ate as much of these foods as I wanted and didn’t worry as much about quantity.  Both of these strategies were great for making sure that I stayed healthy while eating in a dining hall—basically, as long as I wasn’t eating a lot of unhealthy food, I was fine.  A person sits in a dining hall, looking at their phone. Another important part of staying physically healthy was exercise. Living surrounded by friends and dealing with the stress of school meant that it was a lot harder to find time to exercise. But, exercise was actually key for both my physical and mental health— it was good for my body, and provided a relaxing break that was great for my mental health.  Exercising at U of T is super convenient because your student fees already pay for access to many great exercise facilities. I especially enjoy Hart House’s drop-in fitness classes, and went often to their Zumba class! 
A picture of three people working out
Shoutout to Lizzo! Creds:
Finally, mental health has always been key for me. When living in residence, I was surrounded by a lot of people. This was both a pro and a con— on one hand, it meant that if I was going through something hard, I could reach out to a friend. On the other hand, it meant that spending time alone and maintaining boundaries was a lot harder. To create this time by myself, I made sure to get away from residence, whether that be for a weekend trip or just a walk alone around the city.
A picture of a person lying in the grass
Time to myself!
  I’ve also used a lot of the mental health services at U of T in order to keep myself healthy. If you’re looking for more information about this, I recently wrote a blog post about my experience with counselling services at U of T. Overall, residence is a super unique and fun experience. I’m so glad I took steps to maintain my physical and mental health, because it meant that I could enjoy residence life to the fullest. 

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