To Incoming College Freshmen (Rolling Your Eyes at Your Mom Dorm Room Shopping)
Yes it is brutally hot here in August, and yes you would rather be swimming or watching Netflix than shopping with your Mom for college bedding late in the afternoon. News flash…. your Mom is hot and tired too, but hey, she loves you, and she is bursting with emotions that have been building up over the past 18 years for what is about to happen in the next couple of weeks when she drops you off at college.
So please, cut her some slack, because unlike you, to her this is not just another shopping trip, this is the beginning of what your Mom has been preparing for all of your life. And while for you this is an exciting beginning, for her it is exciting, but it is also the beginning of the end of her days of knowing everything you are doing most of the time, the end of taking that first day of school photo, the end of nightly dinners and asking you how your day was and receiving a shrug and a “fine”, and she is trying to process those endings, while cheering you on toward your new beginning, and you know what… it’s tough!
When she was spending close to 20 minutes with you deciding which hangers would be the best choice for your college dorm room closet, I saw you roll your eyes, but her questions about whether the hangers were too thick, or slippery, or too pointy were not really concerns about the actual hangers.
What she was really worried about was, would you be able to do your laundry and manage your classes and still have time to eat well and spend time with your friends. Would you get frustrated, and who will be there to talk you through it?
Now here you are standing in the bedding section of this mega store, and she is ready to shell out hundreds of dollars for a foam mattress topper, bed bug protector, mattress cover, high thread count sheets, and the perfect comforter and she is driving you crazy with all the decisions and questions. Please understand, she is not really asking you if you prefer 800 or 300 thread count sheets, this is what she really wants to know.
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5 Things This Nutritionist/Mom Wants College Freshmen to Remember About Taking Care of Themselves
1. Will you be able to get enough sleep?
She knows how vital sleep is to good health, but she also knows from her own college days how much our society undervalues the importance of sleep. Your Mom gets it, the lull of friends saying up late, watching movies, studying, partying or just solving the mysteries of life which can only be done in the wee hours of the morning.
So assure her that you know about the value of a good night’s sleep, how it heals your body and calms your mind, how it helps balance your hormones and regulates your appetite, and acknowledge that it may not be easy but you will do your best.
2. Will you oversleep for your early morning classes or an exam?
A bedroom environment should be your sanctuary, calming and relaxing. Mom is worried about whether you and your roommate will clutter up the dorm room creating distractions that will prevent you from unwinding and falling asleep. Despite her concerns, she still urges you to purchase those adorable throw pillows for the bed, which makes literally no sense at all, so please just humor her.
Graciously accept her offer to buy you the Call Your Mother Throw Pillow , laugh together about it, and when she leaves you after move-in day, you can just casually place it under your bed until Parents Weekend. Until then, do your best to keep your room clutter free, dark and cool, so you can get into that comfy bed at the end of a long day of classes and catch some Zzzzz’s.
3. How will you unwind at the end of a long day without a soothing bath?
Yes it’s true, most college freshmen will soon learn what a luxury a long, hot soothing and private bath was while living at home. Your Mom is worried about your sleep hygiene, (the habits and rituals we perform at the end of the day that are conducive to good sleep on a regular basis). Purchase a few soft wash cloths, a dry skin brush, and some sweet-smelling body creams, filled with essential oils like lavender to help you create some new shower time rituals to help your body relax.
Your skin is your largest organ and dry skin brushing, before a shower, is great for your lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating toxins and waste from your body. Check out the essential oil diffusers that plug-in and allow you to diffuse these relaxing scents in your dorm room, have a soothing effect on your mood, and can help you relax and fall asleep. Consider suggesting that Mom get one for her bedroom also.
4. Will you binge eat late at night preventing you from falling asleep?
Be sure to stock up on some healthy snacks after you finish shopping in the dorm room section. Healthy nuts and seeds, organic popcorn kernels and a popcorn popper, dried fruits, protein bars and crackers with 5 ingredients or less, (with ingredients you can pronounce) on the labels. Don’t forget some herbal teas, and a nice mug instead of those caffeinated energy drinks. Herbal tea will fuel you through those late night study sessions, but without the caffeine keeping you up when you are ready to call it quits. Let Mom buy you the “World’s Greatest Kid” mug if she insists…. again, place it under the bed until Parent’s Weekend if you find it embarrassing!
5. What will it be like not to walk into your bedroom, kiss the top of your head and hug you goodnight?
Ok well truth be told, Mom has probably been the one going to bed before you for a year or so now while you stay up late anguishing over late night AP Calculus and US History homework, but if she wanted to, she could walk in any night and just sit with you and rub your back and help you de-stress.
Learn how to do progressive muscle relaxation when you are lying in bed, especially that first week or two of school and before mid-term exams. Start by tensing each muscle group in your body and then relax it. Work from the top of your body to the bottom. Raise your eyebrows high and then release them, shut your eyes tight and release, open your mouth wide and stretch your jaw and let your tongue hang out. Continue with your neck by raising your shoulders to your ears and lowering them. Continue to your stomach, buttocks, hands, fingers and legs. As you tense each body part, inhale through your nose and hold the breath, and as you exhale relax the muscle.
Teach this to your roommate to help her fall asleep, but before you leave, teach it to Mom, she may have trouble falling asleep those first few nights you are away also!!
As you head to the checkout line of the store, Mom with her 20 Percent-off coupon in hand that she has been saving for just this moment, give her a hug, thank her, and don’t be surprised if those rolling eyes swell up with a tear or two. You are growing up kiddo, and learning how much Mom loves you…. now go out and change the world, you’ve got this!
Suzy Harmon is a former CPA who found herself in nutrition school after realizing her health and well-being were lacking and medication wasn’t the solution to her problems. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, wife and mother of 3, she works hard to empower others to make healthy food choices, overcome food addictions, and learn lifestyle choices that will help them live happy, healthy and balanced lives. She is the author of the recently released book, Hungry For Health, Starved For Time: The Busy Person’s Guide to Harmonious Health and enjoys working with groups as a trainer, and one on one with clients, coaching them to achieve Harmonious Health.