When I was a freshman in college, I was terrible at taking care of myself. I was eating crap from the cafeterias every day, staying up late to study, and running my body into the ground literally. Over the years, I’ve learned just how much of a difference of a good self-care routine can be when it comes to my grades and mental well-being.
The reason why self-care is super important is because your mind and body are all working muscles that need a breather every once in a while. After you work them super hard, they need a little TLC to recharge and to be ready to work again at full-speed. When those muscles aren’t allowed enough time to recharge, they can’t work properly and eventually they’ll shut down. This is one of the main reasons why college students get sick out of season; it’s stress-induced.
So even if you think you are getting more done by pulling all-nighters or by not taking any breaks during the day, you’re actually doing more harm than good in the long run. You’ll really start to see this effect you when you walk into an exam after you spent all night studying to not remember anything that you looked at. And the reason for this isn’t because you didn’t study enough but because you didn’t allow your body to recharge overnight with sleep.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you 5 tips on how you can start fitting in “me time” into your hectic college schedule.
Tip #1: Schedule Self-Care & “Me Time”
Most college students have a planner and if you don’t, grab one immediately. The easiest way to make sure you remember to take a break throughout the day is to schedule it in your planner. Now when I mean take a break, I want you to do something that you enjoy and that doesn’t take a lot of brain activity to do. Why? Because self-care is about you and it’s about taking a load off. Every single day schedule a 30-minute block where you do whatever you want, like read a book, watch your favorite tv show, journal in a notebook, etc.
Here are some more examples of some self-care activities that you can do:
- Journal in a notebook
- Paint your nails
- Take a fun, new class
- Read a book
- Get a massage or a facial
- Take a bubble bath
- Go on a trip to a city nearby
Tip #2: Utilize your free time
I remember when I was in undergrad, I would consistently have open gaps in my schedule either between classes or meetings. Whatever I was doing that day, I always ended up with little time slots that I could use to catch up on homework, chatting with friends, or better yet practicing a little self-care in my day. If you have a similar schedule like mine instead of using that time to scroll through Instagram or catch up on your Twitter feed, utilize that time by doing something fun. You only need a few minutes to relax your mind and body so even if you have a spare 10 or 20 minutes between classes or while you’re waiting for the bus to arrive.
Tip #3: Try something new
College is supposed to be fun and exciting. This is the perfect time to set out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you find something that you enjoy and it scares you, then go for it! Self-care is meant to make you feel better about yourself, but it’s also about personal growth and pushing yourself to the limits. If you check out your campus website, there are usually a ton of opportunities on campus to attend a new class at the gym, join a fun organization, or tag along on a mission trip to a new country.
Tip #4: Cook at home
While I’m not the best cook in the world, I can do a little something-something in the kitchen. I find cooking to be so relaxing, and I love finding new recipes to try out on Pinterest or on my favorite food blogs. The way that I think about it is that you have to eat anyways so you might as well as try and save money by cooking at home. Plus cooking takes time so it’s a built-in break time in your busy study schedule.
Tip #5: Ask for your help if you need to
If you need help at all during your time in college, please ask for help. A lot of universities have phenomenal mental health resources available to their students, including those they may not have insurance or have less comprehensive coverage. You can even go into the clinic to speak to a therapist in person or speak to someone online through a chat box, if that’s something that you prefer. Even though it may seem daunting to ask for professional help, speaking to someone who is trained to help you through your problems is the best form of self-care that you can do for yourself. That goes for even when you’ve graduated and moved on from college.
Practicing self-care in college is tough to prioritize, but I promise you that you’ll start to feel so much better in a matter of minutes if you put yourself first. I challenge you after reading this post is to implement some form of self-care into your daily routine, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Leave a comment below and let everyone know what you did during your self-care time block.
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