The Do's and Don'ts of Self-Care

As mid-term season approaches and stress begins to mount in even larger amounts than normal, more and more people are going to turn to “self-care” tactics to feel better. This is actually a healthy trend that’s overtaken the Internet, with many people promoting the idea of taking time for yourself and practicing habits that make you feel loved, healthy, and happy. However, self-care looks very different depending on who you ask, and not everyone is doing it right. Here are some do’s and don’ts of self-care and tips on how to actually treat yo’ self.  

DON’T lay in bed all day  

However tempting it may be to watch 12 consecutive hours of Netflix, this does more bad than good. Sure, your bed is comfy, and your show is amazing, but in the end letting yourself be a couch potato all day doesn’t do anything to help. The sheets get sweaty, your body gets sore, and you don’t feel any more energized the next day. If you feel like having a sloth kind of day, mix it up for yourself! Read a book, do some stretches, play with a pet– anything that exercises your mind a little and gets your booty out of bed, even for just a bit.  

DO go to a yoga class! 

This is a great way to help yourself feel revitalized after a long week of studying. Yoga is a relaxing and easy way to get your blood flowing, and it teaches you how to breathe correctly, which is a necessity for stress-relief. Classes are available at the AU Fitness Center or at one of several studios located in Tenleytown. Anyone can do this activity, and you’ll feel more productive and ready to go afterwards! 

DON’T binge-eat a bunch of junk food 

Sure, maybe you crave that tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a stressful mid-term, and it’s okay to let yourself indulge in a bit of junk food. However, allowing yourself to eat nothing but greasy foods and desserts all day is going to make you feel worse in the end. Your energy will plummet as the day goes on, and you’ll feel even more stressed when you break out in acne the next day. It’s tempting to eat your way through a stressful situation but it’s important to be aware of the snacks you’re munching on. Instead of grabbing that bag of potato chips, maybe go for some pretzels or popcorn instead. Swap that second pint of ice cream for some yogurt and, if you’re looking for something sweet, try eating fruit.  

DO cook yourself a healthy meal! 

This is a fun activity college students rarely partake in. The act of cooking yourself a meal is pretty daunting, especially when TDR and POD offer easy alternatives. However, there are many recipes online, specifically made for college students, with minimal ingredients and skills required. Search one up, and spend an hour cooking yourself a delicious meal that’ll taste SO much better than anything AU has to offer. It’s a great way to take a mental break from work and you’re rewarded in the end with yummy food to eat while watching a fun show!  

DON’T splurge on things you don’t need 

Retail therapy is a well-known coping mechanism for stress. There’s just something about buying things you desperately want that makes you feel so much better about stressful situations. When the stress has passed though, you’re left with more things you don’t need, more clutter for an already too-small dorm room, and much, much less money in your bank account. To counter this, don’t click the pay button in the middle of your emotional high. Try adding things to your Wishlist or cart and leaving them there until you’re in a better place to make shopping decisions. This will lead to fewer purchases you regret, and less stress on you and your wallet.  

DO get organized!  

It’s so easy to let all your shirts pile up on that chair or leave all your papers spilled across your desk, but this clutter creates more stress and makes it easier to lose items you need. Take some time in your day to clean up and organize your room. Hang up all your clothes or do a load of laundry, put your notebooks and textbooks away properly, and wash the dirty dishes that have been piling up next to your bed for the past week. Decluttering your living space helps declutter your mind and will leave you feeling more productive and relaxed in the end! 

Self-care is important, and something everyone needs to take some time to engage in. These tips will help you feel more productive and less stressed when facing midterms but remeber they can be applied at any point during the year. Whether it’s exams, relationship-drama, or just a really bad day, taking the time to care for yourself and treat yourself with a little love will help you feel much better much faster.  

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