Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus.) We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

With 2019 in very close sight, it’s currently that time of year where we frantically come up with New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions we claim we will religiously stick to and that will kick-start the year into the new improved version of our life we so desperately desire. The version where we hit the gym every day to burn off that Christmas meal we’re still full from, or go dry for January to make up for perhaps one too many G&T’s, or large glasses of wine, beer, Baileys, port… whatever your drink of choice is over Christmas (maybe all of the above…!?). Or perhaps we decide to finally quit smoking, to go to bed earlier, to lose weight; in fact, 7 out of the 10 most common New Year’s resolutions are to do with improving health. However, somewhat unsurprisingly, well over half of the resolutions made each year are broken, with 80% of them failing before even February.

But what if there was something you could do to improve your health and well-being without having to run a 10k every day, or count your calories. Something that would not only benefit your life, but the lives of millions of others. Something that is easier to do now than it has ever been before… I’m not joking (honest!), there really IS something you can do.

How about joining the estimated 300,000+ people who have signed up to Veganuary for 2019?

Launched in 2014, Veganuary is a charity that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January. It’s totally free to sign up and every day you will receive an email with delicious recipes, meal plans, and helpful tips.

But why vegan? How will it help?

In terms of health, going vegan has a multitude of health benefits. I personally have felt more energised and healthy, both physically and mentally, since following a vegan diet. A sensible, well-balanced vegan diet that takes into account where you get your essential nutrients from, decreases the risk (and even helps prevent) so many of the major killers — heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure to name a few. To find out more, check out Dr. Greger’s website, videos, and best-selling book, How Not to Die.

If you love and care for animals, then by going vegan, even just for a month, you will save approximately 30 animals’ lives. You will also help stop the unnecessary enslavement, exploitation and torture of so many animals raised solely for our pleasure. Find out more here.

If you care for our planet, then going vegan is one of the best things you can do to protect it; especially now we know we only have 12 years left to make dramatic changes before it’s too late. Animal agriculture is accountable for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation sector combined! By simply cutting animal products from your diet for a month, you’ll save approximately 124,917 litres of water, 273 kg of Co2, and 84 square metres of forest. You’ll also save 543 kg of grain, that instead of being used to feed animals for our consumption, can be used to feed the millions of starving people around the world.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to try going vegan in the New Year. And it has never been easier to ditch dairy, eggs, and meat. So many restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets offer delicious vegan alternatives. In 2017 alone, there was a 987% increase in demand for meat-free food products.

So I fully encourage you to take the pledge for a month. I was so surprised at how easy it was (the cheese cravings go after a while, trust me). And who knows, perhaps like me you will feel so much better after a month that you won’t look back!

Here’s the link to the website where you can find out more and sign up.

Happy 2019!

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis