Physical Wellness

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Physical wellness is knowing your body and giving it what it needs for health, healing, and energy.

Check in with your physical wellness

  • Do you eat foods that you enjoy, stay hydrated through the day, and listen to your hunger ques?
  • Are you able to keep a consistent sleep schedule and get 7 hours of sleep/night?
  • Do you move your body on a daily basis?
  • Are you practicing safer sex with condoms and contraception?
  • Are you making alcohol, nicotine, other drugs choices that align with your values?
  • Do you have a habit of regularly washing your hands to prevent colds and flu?


Explore Physical Wellness

Physical wellness involves making good choices when it comes to:


  • Not everyone at UNH is drinking. 
  • Most students who choose to drink, drink in low-risk ways (drink in a way that minimizes negative consequences).
  • The choice not to drink is always a low-risk choice. Even if you choose to drink one day, you can choose not to drink the next. 
  • It is okay to say “no.”
  • Eat food before and while you are drinking. Food slows the absorption of alcohol.
  • Always know what you are drinking. Never leave your drink unattended; make or get your own drink(s).
  • Know what a standard drink is. Generally, a standard drink is 12 ozs. of beer, 5 ozs. of wine or 1.5 ozs. of 80 proof liquor.
  • If you are tired, sick or emotionally upset, alcohol can affect you more than usual.
  • Spread drinks out over time to give your body a chance to keep up. The body can metabolize about 1 drink per hour.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with, non-prescription medications, prescriptions, or illicit drugs.
  • Follow campus, local and state rules and laws.
  • Know your limits, and stick to them!


Flu Prevention

  • Avoid close contact as much as possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. You should not go to classes, work or participate in social activities. Not going to public places will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or cough into your elbow or shoulder. And don’t forget to dispose of your tissues properly!
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to protect you against germs/viruses. You can pick up them up through shaking hands, touching doorknobs, phones, computers, etc. 
  • Don’t share towels, eating utensils, toothbrushes, drinking glasses or other items that may spread germs. Even if someone is not sick at the time of sharing, he or she may still be contagious for flu or cold that can develop into symptoms the next day.
  • Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his/her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Take care of yourself by trying to eat healthy meals and get enough sleep.


Illness Prevention

  • Go to recommended check-ups (physical, eye and dental).
  • Be a partner in your health with your health care provider - share information on symptoms and health, ask questions, make sure you understand, and participate in decision-making about recommendations for care.
  • Do monthly breast and/or testicular exams.
  • Listen to your body and respond appropriately and learn to recognize early signs of illness.
  • Stop your use of tobacco products and protect yourself against second-hand smoke.
  • Use any prescription or non-prescription medications only as recommended and don’t share with others.
  • Watch your exposure to the sun. Wear sunscreen. Avoid tanning booths.
  • Use seat belts and helmets, and encourage others to do so.
  • Keep informed about health issues and how to prevent illness and injury.



  • Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables at every meal or snack
  • Start the day with a nutritious breakfast consisting of grains, protein, calcium, and fruit or vegetables.
  • Relax and enjoy your meals. Give yourself time to savor the pleasure of eating.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully. Pay attention to taste, textures, flavors and the appearance of food.
  • Accept and love your body and all it does for you. Allow only positive thoughts and comments about your body.
  • Stock your backpack and dorm room with healthy snacks: yogurt, fruit, energy bars, trail mix, or cheese.
  • Stay hydrated to feel good and perform well.
  • Eat 3 meals and between meal snacks to keep yourself energized and to avoid extremes of hunger.
  • Respond to signals of hunger and fullness. They are your portion control guides.
  • Eat an array of foods from various sources to ensure a balanced intake of nutrients.
  • Include at least three calcium rich foods each day: dairy foods, nuts, leafy green vegetables, tofu, beans, and fortified cereals. And don't forget to focus on fiber: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • College students often under consume vitamins A and C found in orange, red and yellow-colored fruits and vegetables.
  • Fish, walnuts, soy products, and fortified foods such as cereal and eggs contain essential fatty acids for heart, brain and immune health.
  • In New Hampshire, Vitamin D is made in skin only from April to October. Few foods contain vitamin D: fortified milk, margarine, butter, cheeses, juice, and breakfast cereals. Fish contains vitamin D naturally (salmon, tuna).
  • The most absorbable sources of iron come from animal sources: meat, fish, and poultry. 
  • Vegetarians can consume iron from nuts, seeds, beans, enriched bread and cereal products, greens, raisins, dates, and molasses.


Body Movement

There are numerous health benefits to getting your body moving!

  • Being active helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
  • Physical activity decreases the risk of some health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 
  • Exercising helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, helps prevent and manage stress, and promotes mental well-being.
  • Adults should try to be physically active for at least 2.5 hours each week (around 30 minutes 5 days/week) at a moderate level.
  • Participate in activities that strengthen muscles and bones at least 3 days/week.
  • Be sure to include stretching/flexibility activities to keep muscles and joints healthy and decrease risk of injury.
  • Shake it up! Vary your activities to decrease boredom and to keep your body guessing.
  • No pain, no gain is a myth! Do activities/movement that you enjoy (dancing, bowling, basketball, yoga, weights, walking, biking, etc). The key is to develop healthy lifestyle activities and habits.


Sexual Health

  • Is about the expression of body, mind, and spirit
  • Means that we see our sexuality as a healthy and natural aspect of who we are
  • Is how we express ourselves and our feelings for others
  • Includes our ideas, values, and beliefs about sexual pleasure and how we express that with ourselves and others
  • Means honoring your sexual, emotional, and erotic attractions to others, whether they are same sex or opposite sex attractions
  • Is celebrating your own body, mind, and spirit through self-pleasure (masturbation)
  • Means respecting your own personal and sexual boundaries (not being sexual with someone just because they asked you to have sex with them) as well as the personal and sexual boundaries of others (respecting someone’s decision not to be sexual with you)
  • Is about using protection (condoms, dental dams, contraception) against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy
  • Means understanding your own erotic and sexual desires (what you want from sex) and communicating those desires with your partner(s)
  • Is about understanding yourself as a gendered individual – what makes you tick as a female, male, or transgendered person
  • Know that it’s OK to make a decision not to be sexual.



  • College students need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. 
  • Getting consistent and adequate sleep helps your body and mind rest and repair. 
  • Protects you from illness and helps regulate weight.
  • Allows you to be more productive and creative.
  • Maintains mental health and increases your ability to retain and process information and solve problems.
  • Say “no” to “all nighters.” Sleeping before a test or project will be of greater help then staying up all night cramming. 
  • Sleep helps you remember what you study.
  • Alcohol and caffeine, including energy drinks, can interfere with your sleep cycle, so avoid / limit intake.
  • Create a sleep space that is inviting, peaceful, dark and quiet.
  • Don’t exercise, work or study right up until you go to bed. Take time to relax.
  • Limit the activities you do in bed so your body recognizes it as a place to rest and relax.
  • Don’t take sleep medications unless prescribed.
  • Naps are okay if they are not your primary way of getting sleep. Limit the length so they don’t interfere with your ability to sleep at night.



  • Stress is the physical, emotional, and mental response to change. 
  • Stress may be beneficial when it serves as positive motivation, such as when writing a paper or playing a sport.
  • Excessive negative stress may be a key element in half of all illnesses. 
  • Your stress level affects your immune and nervous systems, heart, metabolism and hormones.
  • Stress can appear at any time, but the college years bring many new and challenging stressors including: academics, roommates, money, social life, and intimate relationships.
  • Common signs of stress include: eating issues, sleeping problems, decision-making issues, procrastination, anger, crying often, frequent illness, and substance abuse.
  • Quick stress reducers: exercise, spending time with friends, a good yell/cry.
  • Take time for yourself. Make self-care a priority. Find time to relax every day, if only for a moment or two.
  • Stress is a normal part of life. Learning how to manage stress means knowing what stresses you, expressing your feelings, caring for your body, and not being afraid to ask for help.
  • Organization may help to reduce stress. Make to-do lists and prioritize your tasks. Tackle one thing at a time.
  • Learning to say “no” is an important part of stress reduction. Know and accept your limits.
  • Practice self-love. Self esteem is critical to stress management. Reinforce positivity by surrounding yourself with positive people.