Back to school season means extra work for grad students, teachers, and parents. As you prepare for the long nights ahead, be sure to prioritize your physical and mental health. Stress can cause and exacerbate illness, so it’s important to take the steps to keep yourself healthy and happy.

Plan your Meals

When you’re having to jettison yourself between work, the gym, school, and your children’s after-school activities, takeout food starts to look very tempting. However, empty calories and extra cholesterol can take a toll on your long-term health. Depriving yourself of necessary vitamins and nutrients also makes it more difficult to fight colds and infections. Instead, plan your healthy meals in advance, and plan ways to take them with you. Having a breakfast smoothie in a thermos or a healthy casserole in a Tupperware are great ways to ensure that you keep yourself full and healthy.

Build Sleep Into Your Schedule

Sleep can often become a second priority when you start juggling multiple projects and deadlines. This often results in exhaustion, stress colds, and serious strains on your mental health. Instead, build eight hours of sleep into your daily schedule. Build a realistic to-do list around your sixteen hours of active time, rather than trying to fit sleep into your schedule. If stress or other medical conditions are making it hard for you to sleep, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.

Get All of your Shots

Fall is cold and flu season, and one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to keep up with your vaccinations. Many walk-in clinics and urgent care centers have quick and easy vaccinations available. Urgent care centers are open seven days a week, and they can often treat you within a few minutes. Taking a half hour to get your shots now ensures that you won’t be down with the flu for a week or more later in the year.

Get to Know your Local Urgent Care

Some doctors visits need to be planned weeks or months in advance, leaving many people to think that they need to visit an emergency room to get any medical treatment at all. Instead, you should find a local urgent care to treat your medical non-emergencies. You can think of them as walk in clinics: if you need a minor procedure to be performed, or if you have an upper respiratory condition, you can have it taken care of whenever you have the time.

Fall illnesses are never fun, but with the right preparation, you can keep yourself healthy all season long. Even if you do come down with a stress-cold, your local walk in clinic is there to help when you need it.

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