Tips and Tricks for a Happier and Healthier Lifestyle (As Blue Checkmark Verified By Me!)

We are now about halfway into the semester and I don’t know about y’all, but Mental Health Day can’t come soon enough. With midterms upon us and fall break not too long after, I’ve been struggling to keep my shit together long enough to make it to our short but sweet extended weekend.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, so I implore all of you to take some time out of your Thursday to give your body what it needs. “Self-care” has become somewhat of a buzzword over the past couple of years, but it’s popular for a reason! Sometimes just taking a few minutes out of your day (or hours if you’ve got that much time) can help you refocus on what you need to get done so you can have a more restful sleep afterward.

Before last year, I had no understanding of self-care and wondered why I was always tired, unhappy, and stressed. I would overload my class schedule with core classes, go to bed in the “wee small hours of the morning”, and give little to no thought to my appearance.

With some small lifestyle changes and a little luck, I’m at a better place emotionally and I’m a much happier person for it.

Below are some of the ways in which I practice self-care and some resources to motivate you to join the movement toward a happier and healthier lifestyle. Feel free to try anything that floats your boat.

  1. 1. Finding your support system

    When you are overtired, overstressed, and overworked it’s not hard to also feel very alone (especially for freshmen who’ve just had a major lifestyle overhaul upon coming to college). The support system you need to navigate your new lifestyle may seem out of reach but is often closer than you might think.

  2. 2. Family/ Friends

    My biggest support system is most definitely my family and friends. Whenever I feel lonely or in need of a heart-to-heart, I know my close friends and my parents are always willing to listen. Asking for help and opening up may seem scary at first but once you get over the initial awkwardness of being vulnerable, sometimes verbalizing your stress to others can be beneficial for your emotional and mental health.

  3. 3. ASU Counseling

    Although I’ve never used this service myself, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback about ASU Counseling as a resource for all students. The ASU Health Center provides individual counseling sessions to ASU students at a reduced cost ($15/session) as well as group sessions at all four campus locations. The first session is free as well as any subsequent session to discuss service options.

    Find more information about this resource here: https://eoss.asu.edu/counselin

  4. 4. Meditation

    I know it sounds quite boring and might make you feel silly to sit down and breathe slowly for 3-10 minutes while a non-descript “calm” voice speaks into your soul via your headphones, but I’m here to tell you that it actually does work! Whether you search “meditation” on YouTube or download one of the many apps the App Store has to offer, I highly recommend you give mindfulness and meditative practice a try.

    Following a self-care day my dance teacher organized in my modern dance class last semester, I downloaded some meditation apps: Simple Habit and Headspace. While both have an extensive library of meditation lessons, only a sample are available for free. Regardless, I recommend trying both out and if you find them helpful, shell out a couple of dollars for the “plus” service.

    BONUS: If you meditate before bed, your sleep will be more restful!

  5. 5. Establishing a Healthy Sleep Schedule

    I get it. We’re all college students with busy lives--homework, classes, jobs, a social life--but that’s no excuse for depriving yourself of sleep. I am--or was--the queen of sleep deprivation throughout high school and half of my college years. I would stay up studying (or more likely procrastinating) until 1, 2, sometimes 3 or 4 AM because I knew classes were only a 15-20 minute walk away from my bed and usually started in mid-to late morning.

    It wasn’t until I forced myself to register for 7:30 AM classes every day that I realized a 10:30 bedtime wasn’t so bad. Because I knew I had to get up early and couldn’t procrastinate my way to success by way of early-morning study sessions, I actually managed my time better during the day. You will never believe the power that going to bed at a “reasonable” time and waking up early with the rest of the working world has. (The dawn light that illuminates the stairwell I take down from my apartment at 7 AM doesn’t hurt either.)

  6. 6. Miscellaneous Online Resources

    Below are some online resources I’ve happened upon in my search for a happier and healthier lifestyle:

    Although the internet can be a toxic place where diverse bodies are criticized rather than celebrated, Stylelikeu’s multimedia “What’s Underneath” project is not that place. Early last year I happened upon this video series project by mother and daughter duo Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum. Through their multimedia platform (you can watch YouTube videos, listen to their podcast, and more), they aim to increase self-acceptance and self-love among men, women, and non-binary folk by celebrating one’s style underneath their clothes (i.e. your body!).

    With interviews from role models across race, gender, sexuality, and ability groups, the What’s Underneath Project helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin and pushed me to appreciate my best qualities. 

    Read more about their mission at https://stylelikeu.com/about-us/.