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Easy Acts of Self Care

As the blurry whirlwind of fresher's fortnight draws to a close, the impending stress and anxiety of the new term is finally settling in. It's a hectic time whatever year of study you're in, so it's important to take time out for yourself amidst the busyness. Self care is extremely important at university because you end up putting yourself under immense mental and physical pressure on a regular basis.

Rosianna Halse Rojas has been a strong advocate of self care in the Youtube community, and you can check out her video with Lucy Moon here about the necessity of self kindness. Establishing some healthy habits or routines that you can fall back on through the tough times can provide a welcome relief from stressful situations, so here are five simple acts of self care and kindness that can help you appreciate the need to look after yourself on a daily basis. 

1. Go outside for a walk 

I got into the really bad habit during my first year of locking myself away in my room for hours on end. I avoided talking to people and thought the best way to work was to force yourself to sit in the same spot all day. It's a totally unhealthy mentality and unfortunately seems to be a common trap that students fall into. 

When you're feeling low, try going outside for some fresh air. The shift from a claustrophobic space to an open environment can do your brain the world of good, allowing your body to move freely after being hunched up from studying. With such a beautiful green campus, Cornwall is the perfect place to go for a refreshing walk!

2. Buy yourself flowers or plants

Buying flowers shouldn't be an activity solely designated for romantic partners. Picking up a little bouquet from the nearest supermarket alongside your food shop almost feels slightly rebellious and self-indulgent - after all, what's wrong with surrounding yourself with pretty things? 

If you're not much of a flower person, investing in small potted plants for your room can brighten up the dark spaces. Preferably pick something easy to look after, like a succulent or cacti, to avoid the adult responsibility of trying to keep a plant alive. 

3. Cook your favourite meal

When we get stressed out we tend to reach for foods that are unhealthy, as well as quick to prepare and consume. Taking the time to rustle up a home-cooked meal is good for the soul, as it allows you to take time out from studying to focus on the food in front of you. Picking your favourite meal gives you an added boost too, but avoid convincing yourself that it has to be a takeaway pizza!

As Autumn swiftly approaches, I find myself craving wholesome soups, stews and casseroles. They're easy to prepare and allow you to use up whatever vegetables you have lying around. Throw it all in a pot and allow it to slowly simmer, then freeze any leftovers for those days when you really can't be bothered to cook. 

4. Go to bed early

This year Panorama produced a documentary titled Sleepless Britain to explore how poor sleep across the country is proving detrimental to our health, and they found that sleeplessness can even lead to lower academic grades. Whilst not everyone necessarily needs the recommended amount of eight hours sleep, allowing yourself to go to bed an hour earlier than usual feels like a special treat. 

Avoid using your phone to scroll through social media late in the evening, try not to eat or drink anything containing lots of sugar, and use that extra hour in bed to recharge your batteries in order to feel more productive the following day. 

5. Take a hot shower

It seems too simple to be true, but taking a long, hot shower can prove to be a wonderful act of self care. As an evening shower person, getting washed as soon as I come home from university takes away that horrible unclean feeling that clings to you after a day of running around campus.

When you stand still and allow the hot water to just run over you, appreciate the warmth on your skin and imagine all of the baggage you've been carrying around gradually fading away. Emerge from that shower with a clean slate, slowly reminding yourself that you are capable and strong. 

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Kacey Gaylor

Exeter Cornwall '18

Hello, I'm Kacey and I'm your President for Her Campus Exeter-Cornwall! Also a third year English student at the University of Exeter's Penryn campus, so you'll find me in the back corner of the library behind a tower of books- just follow the scent of coffee... 
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