Spotlight on: Christen Soucy
1. What does health mean to you?
To me, health is holistic. This means that I try to take care of myself physically, mentally, and socially. I achieve this by maintaining a balance and managing my time wisely. Not only do I want to be physically healthy and free of illness, but work to have positive social and professional relationships while managing everyday stressors and challenges.
2. What do you do to make a healthy UNH?
To manage my stress while at school, I try to do things ahead of time to avoid that last minute panic. This means completing assignments before they are due (especially printing things the day before I need them), leaving a little bit early for class, and planning out my day the night before. It saves me a lot of stress, which ultimately can make someone unhealthy if it is not managed. Also getting enough sleep is vital! Partying and cramming for exams all night are a part of college, but sometimes I sacrifice that for enough sleep so I can be focused for the next day.
3. How do you stay fit?
I think fitness is all about consistency. Working out once in a while is better than not working out at all, but one is not really going to notice a difference in their fitness level unless they exercise regularly. The truth is, sometimes we physically do not have time in the day to work out. Sometimes I have clinical all night and then hours of class and homework when I get home. However, if this is happening every day to someone, then perhaps they have taken on more than they can handle. I do try to fit in a workout at least 5 days a week and build it into my day like another class. I like to change up my workouts, combining endurance, strength, and flexibility. If I can go on a hike, swim, run, or do something else active, that can be substituted for a workout in the gym. I hated working out when I first started taking fitness seriously, but now that I have seen results and feel great, I actually enjoy it. I use apps such as RunKeeper and Nike+ training when I need that extra push.
4. Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?
Simple changes can help someone gradually eat healthier. For example, swapping white grains for whole-wheat grains is an easy change, and eating high protein snacks will keep you full throughout the day (nuts, hard boiled egg whites, yogurt). When I know I’ll be really busy, I’ll meal prep for a few days to save time and ensure I’m getting healthy meals in. I suggest everyone try overnight oats and avocado toast. I eat those every day.
5. How do you find motivation to stay healthy?
I choose to live a healthy lifestyle because it makes me feel better, look better, and preform better. I also have friends who enjoy a healthy lifestyle and will workout with me, which is really motivating.
6. Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?
I have noticed that I am a lot happier and have been able to achieve more by making positive changes in my life. I’ve even become a better student. Everyone wants to succeed in life, and taking care of oneself makes it so much easier to do that when you can focus on your goals rather than dealing with illness that is avoidable.
7. Anything else you would like to add that might encourage others on campus to make health efforts too?
Start slow! Cutting out your favorite foods and unhealthy habits all at once is going to make you miserable. You can still eat your favorite treats once in a while. I don’t know what I would do without chocolate sometimes. Work to substitute things one at a time. If you hate running, don’t run. If you hate kale, don’t eat it. There are so many ways to enjoy fitness and health; it’s just about finding what you like. I’m not saying it will be easy all the time, but it should not make you miserable, because that will make you want to regress back to your old habits. Changing your lifestyle for the better is a challenge, but definitely worth it in the end.