The beginning of fall semester brings the promise of meeting new people, excelling in classes, and discovering what you’re truly interested in. This fresh start holds the opportunity to become your best self.
When you’re excited about the new academic year, you want to join everything, do everything and meet everyone, but often spread yourself too thin and forget to add in time for yourself. This semester, set some goals that will help you take care of you (in addition to everything else).
Here are five self-focused goals that you can set (and make sure you stick to) to keep yourself happy, healthy, and energized for the entire semester.
1. Get off campus a few times a month
Whether you go alone or with a group of friends, taking physical time away from school and the stressors that come with it is important. You don’t even have to do anything special; you can go out to dinner, to a movie, or just to the local mall.
Erica Kam, a sophomore at Barnard University, says, “Last year I set a goal to get off campus at least every other weekend! It can be really easy to get caught up in all the things you have to do and to confine yourself to the library or other campus spaces, but it’s healthy to make sure you take yourself away from your work for a bit to see a movie, check out a museum or even just walk through a park for a little bit to clear your mind.”
Getting off campus can remind you that there’s more to life than just tests, assignments, and the stresses of classes. Try to get out as much as you can!
2. Schedule time for dinner (and cook it for yourself) a few times a week
This may sound silly, and maybe even impossible if your schedule won’t allow it (night classes, sports practice, etc.), but it’s actually really helpful. If you’re running around all day trying to fit in every class, meeting, and club while still finding time to do homework, you probably haven’t had time to eat a full, healthy meal.
It’s also important to take both a mental and physical break during the day, and it’s even more important (especially in college) to make sure that you’re eating right. Set aside time to have something substantial to eat, even if it’s not anything special; it’ll give you time to rest and recover from your crazy day.
Greer Brodie-Hall, a junior at Queen’s University in Canada, says, “By the time school starts I’ve eaten out enough to kill my bank account, so I make it a goal to cook at home. I eat out way too often, so to bring some structure to my life, I make at least five good meals a week at home. And it’s a really good study break.”
3. Walk around campus as often as you can
Taking walks is beneficial in so many ways: not only is it an easy way to exercise if you don’t have time to go to the gym, but it’s a great study break and the perfect opportunity to clear your head and refocus. Even if you only have 15 minutes, you’ll feel rejuvenated after a nice walk (especially if the weather is warm) and more connected with yourself.
“Walks are a great way to clear your head and relax. But I also use them to listen to my favorite music and podcasts,” says Isabelle Christie, a sophomore at Marist College. “I also use walks to talk to friends and family from home on the phone. They also allow you to discover new or hidden spots on campus,” she says.
Making sure you take time to talk to your parents or friends from home is an easy way to keep yourself from feeling isolated when you’re stressed out or overwhelmed, too.
4. Write in a journal every day
You’ve probably heard this one a million times, but it really does work. Taking time to write down anything you’re feeling or what you’re stressed and anxious about can really help clear your head. Keeping everything trapped inside is a recipe for disaster.
Lauren Butts, a junior at Fairfield University, says, “I try to take about fifteen minutes each day to write in a journal to reflect on my day and myself. It allows me to relax and vent about things I may be stressed about, whether it be personal or school-related.”
You don’t even have to write in a physical journal – you can always pull out your phone and just jot down some thoughts on the notes app if that works better for you.
5. Schedule personal time into every day
It’s easy to find time in your busy schedule to meet with a professor or work on a group project, but it’s much harder to schedule time for yourself. Instead of filling up your free time with more work, force yourself to relax.
Even if it’s only for thirty minutes every night, or an hour in the morning, find time to take care of you. “I get so busy that I schedule myself naps into my hourly planner!” says Kelsey Parmenter, a senior at Cal Poly.
Nikki Noorian, a junior at Pace University does the same. “I like to almost micro-schedule myself, so in my planner I’ll schedule in a block of ‘me-time’ to make sure I’m not overworking myself throughout the day. Me-time is still productive! I also like to end each night by watching one episode of my favorite show to help me unwind before bed,” she says.
6. Only shop brands that make you feel good
When you look good, you feel good. Whatever it may be, make sure to invest in products that make you feel confident and happy—like joy, a new razor that makes shaving refreshingly simple so you can get on with your relaxing shower time or any of your other favorite self-care activities.
No matter if you just do one of these, or if you do them all, focusing on yourself this semester should always be at the top of your to-do list