As someone who was told by two doctors in the course of two days that I was “too stressed” and “needed to focus on finding activities that I practice weekly and daily to lower my tension level” I figured it was time to hone in on my life, re-evaluate it, and find areas in my busy life to add self-care practices into my daily routine. I would definitely say that taking time out of my day to put all my responsibilities aside and focus on myself has been beneficial. I believe that all college students could always benefit from a few more minutes of personal time and mental rest. I have a few things that work extremely well for me; I know they won’t have the same effect or seem appealing to some people, but I still have a few ideas and suggestions that can be adapted to fit your own needs.
1. Read a book for a few minutes every night.
Everyone always tells you to put your phone away before bed because you’ll get a better night sleep and blah blah blah… but how many of us actually listen to that and abide by it? Every night now, I resolve to get in bed, dim my lights, put my phone away, and read a book for 10 or more minutes. Honestly, it has done wonders for my sleep habits and schedule and has shown me the power of taking time to shut off my brain at the end of a long day. Making a hot cup of your favorite (and non-caffeinated) tea won’t hurt in making you feel even calmer and relaxed.
2. Yoga, Stretching, Meditation
While many people can’t simply get behind the idea of practicing yoga or meditating a few simple poses, a short guided meditation, or one yoga class a week can do wonders for stretching tired muscles, releasing tensions, and stretching tired muscles. As a new yoga practicer who goes to an hour-long free yoga class at my school, I have found that it helps me feel less sore after track practice, eases my mind, and helps slow my stress level. Make sure that this activity isn’t too intense workout and cardio wise, as you want to relax, not kill yourself. Feel free to do your hard workouts another time.
3. Try a face mask
Cliché, I know, but trying a face mask at the end of the week can make you feel like a new person. Getting some extra glow for your tired skin, hydrating your dried-by-the-winter-weather-skin, and reducing the bags under your eyes from sleep deprivation can make you feel worlds better. Simply taking all the makeup off your face and then masking it up can help you out a ton! Also, when you’re doing a face mask you can’t do anything else, so it is the perfect time to disconnect from life and technology and take a few deep breaths.
4. Go on a self-date
As someone who is writing this article on a self-date sitting in café drinking a latte after visiting a museum because it is something I love doing and makes me happy, a self-date is a much-needed getaway from a college campus. Pick something you love doing that you don’t normally do, make a day or a trip out of it, and go alone. While going out alone may seem somewhat strange to some people or make you uncomfortable, I highly recommend trying it. When you go out by yourself, you can really relax, not have to worry about anyone else, and you can do things that truly make you smile!
While these four things are some of my new habits, it has taken a few weeks to make time for them, get used to them, and make them stick in my routine. But, I have found that I love doing these things and they reduce my stress levels for sure! Highly recommend!