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So, we are entering the second half of the first semester now for the first year student. I am hearing more often that some of my friends starting to develop some health complains, then I begin to wonder about how I can stay healthy. I am one of the international students who might not be used to the Swedish dynamic climate and might be much exposed to warm sunlight back in my home country prior to my arrival in Sweden.
So, let’s go through some information that I have gathered and willing to share here. Here are my tips on how to stay healthy during your study at KI.
1. Stay physically active
Despite much of my study activities tend to make me feel “active” enough, but the lectures, individual assignments, group works, etc, mostly all were held in me being in a static position, sitting all the time. So, besides those activities, I choose to be more physically active by getting on and off the public transportation in a further stop that I may have more walk. As you probably know, KI Solna campus could be reachable by getting off at several bus stops such as KI Eunivägen, KI Biomedicum, or KI Bibliotek. I usually take the pendeltåg from my apartment at Flemingsberg to the Odenplan station, then I continue by walking to KI Solna campus rather than take the bus. For this, I will have around 20 minutes of walking, sort of a little exercise to start the day.
Aside from walking, you could also choose to cycle your way to campus. Some of my friends would use seasonal bike rent, which could cost you 250 SEK (but, unfortunately, we can only use this from April to October every year). Alternatively, you can buy a bike, the secondhand one would roughly cost you 500 SEK and above.
Karolinska Institutet also provides a gym facility that you can utilize for free. You can find more about it here.
2. Stay socially active
I am fortunate enough to be accompanied by my nuclear family here (which you can read my blog about it here). Besides that, I also try to stay in contact with my relatives and friends in Indonesia. Also, trying to build new social relations with classmates and societies and to get involved in several communities could help in driving stress away and maintaining the mental health status. So, I always keep my eyes and ears open for any kind of social activities that suit me well.
3. Do a little research on my nutritional status and what to (and not to) eat
Since the time that I know I will be studying at one of the best health sciences university which possess a strong culture of research, then it will do me no harm by trying to be more scientific when it comes to my dietary habit. I start by calculating body mass index and recording several body measurements that serve as basic health indicators. I also start to pay more attention to the calories and ingredients contained in the groceries. Sweden puts lots of attention in the fat percentage of a product, especially for meat and dairy products. There is usually a fat percentage (% FETT) displayed on the product label. Another great feature is the jämförpris usually available at the product display shelves. It is the price of the product in a certain unit price (cost per unit), so we can view it as XX SEK per kg or XX SEK per piece. It really helps for someone who is in a very tight budget, such as me, so I have help to carefully select on what kind groceries to shop for.
4. Get enough sleep, and if I don’t, I would convince myself that I had enough sleep.
Studying at Karolinska Institutet, as well as a common Swedish culture, would provide well work/study and life balance, at least when compared to where I came from. There the study and work hours can extend much longer than planned that we could use up our sleeping time for work/study activities.
There was a study which found that if the subjects were suggested enough that they had a good sleep, even though actually, they didn’t, they ended up performing better in the following tests. (Draganich and Erdal, 2004).
So, if I happened to get less sleep, I would just try to convince myself that my sleep is good enough for me. That’s what I call positive thinking!
5. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment
As someone involved in the healthcare fields, this term should be not uncommon to you. So, don’t procrastinate to seek help if you feel something is wrong or if someone thinks that something is wrong with you. At Karolinska Institutet, the Student Health Center provides us with various multidisciplinary services in an individual approach, and it’s FREE. So, don’t hesitate to contact them whenever needed.
So, that’s all for now. Hope you can stay healthy throughout your time in KI.
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LinkedIn: Winner Ng