I often hear this phrase accompanied with a laugh from college students, “Well I would never have time for that.” Sure, I get it. When your life feels like a series of never-ending assignments and deadlines, it can be hard to imagine a free second that you could take for yourself. Especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to get overwhelmed by schoolwork and time management. Yet, surprisingly, sometimes it is easier to complete your various assignments when you incorporate extra healthy habits into your daily schedule. We often find one or two days a year when we feel we can have a “self-care day,” which is wonderful, but it is important to build healthy habits that allow for long-term health and happiness. Here are some ways to prioritize your well-being, your wellness, and your mental health.
- Start every morning by organizing your space
Wake up about 5 minutes before you normally do, and make your bed. Clean your desk space. Maybe even light your favorite scented candle. It is extremely frustrating to try to accomplish work (or in many cases, take online classes), when our workspace is full of clutter.
- Create a short list of daily personal goals that are unrelated to school work
There is always room to work towards individual goals outside of your academic assessments and tasks. Consider making a list of 2-3 goals for yourself every day that don’t involve academic responsibilities. Examples of these types of goals could include:
Be positive. Drink more water. Connect with someone you care about. Be spontaneous. Try something new. Tell yourself something you love about yourself. Etc.
- Plan 30 minutes of movement into your schedule
Literally write into your schedule a specific time period where you can dedicate yourself to movement. I know the idea of making time for exercise often seems exhausting or even impossible. However, moving your body doesn’t have to be so intense or intimidating. There are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of movement. Go for a walk around campus or somewhere local with a friend or family member. Engage in a short yoga, stretching, or meditation video on Youtube. Or even blast some music in your headphones and have a one-woman dance concert in your room. Any form of movement is acceptable, and will make you refreshed and get you out of your desk chair.
- Plan enough time in your schedule for full nourishing meals
Food is fuel for all of your daily endeavours, and not getting well-balanced, full meals can leave you with low energy. Try to figure out three times every day when you can get a big, colorful, balanced meal! Whether that means going to the dining hall, pre-packing a tupperware container, or cooking a nice meal for yourself, all are perfectly acceptable! Try to pack snacks to-go as well in case you have a particular busy day. Eating meals is a nice way to take a break and enjoy yourself, while getting the nutrients and energy you need to crush the day!
- Feel comfortable saying no to an overload of extra-curricular activities
Being a well-rounded student is valuable and it is important to get involved in ways that make you feel happy and allow for your own personal growth. However, it is important to remember that you do not have to do everything. Often students, and Holy Cross students in particular, overwhelm themselves with activities because they feel they have to. If you can easily balance multiple activities, that is wonderful. But, if you have to decide not to join a few extracurricular activities, that is absolutely okay too! Try things out, and then choose wisely which outside-of-class activities you enjoy and benefit from the most. This will allow you to create a balanced schedule, without feeling like you have to check a bunch of boxes off in order to be a well-rounded student or to get a job in the future.
- Try to have a phone-free night routine
Look, if you are anything like me, I know you probably just want to reward yourself with a two-hour pre-bedtime Tik-Tok binge every night. You are surely not alone in that. Yet, and I cannot stress this enough, putting your phone away approximately 30 minutes before bedtime can make a huge difference in your sleep. Complete your nightly routine without the distraction of social media, and try to unwind and settle down for the night. If you're someone who feels like you cannot fall asleep without doing something, try reading a book, listening to a laid-back podcast, or listening to a guided meditation on Spotify. Tik-Tok is fun, and there will be time for Tik-Tok, but your busy schedule will benefit from a good night’s rest and a refreshed start to your day.
Everyone is different in terms of what healthy habits they need to incorporate in order to stay positive, productive, and content. Try one or two of these out for yourself, and see if you feel more energized and less stressed. College is a lot of work, but you deserve to put aside a least a few hours in the day to focus on your own well-being!